IMDb - owned by Amazon - officially launches its new ad-supported streaming service, dubbed Freedive, the latest player in a crowded field. When Netflix first introduced its subscription streaming service a little over a decade ago, it's doubtful many observers anticipated how quickly the streaming market would explode in size. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime serve as the big three, but there are dozens of competitors trying to climb up the ladder, including some operated by the world's biggest media giants. Many services specifically designed to fill a particular genre niche also exist, such as the WWE Network and the horror streamer Shudder.
While most streaming services operate similarly to Netflix - users pay a monthly fee, then get commercial-free access to all content - a fast-growing segment of the streaming landscape involves ad-supported movies and TV shows. Most of these ad-supported streamers provide their content free of charge, although Hulu and CBS All Access notably do offer their ad-supported tiers at a cost, albeit a cheaper one than their commercial-free options. Roku - makers of the most popular streaming devices in America - got in on the ad-supported action with its Roku Channel offerings in 2017, and last November, YouTube also began offering ad-supported Hollywood-produced content.
Some other big players in the ad-supported streaming realm include Sony's Crackle, Vudu's Movies on Us, Tubi TV, and Pluto TV. As reported by The Wrap, today marked Amazon's big push into the ad-supported streaming market, as the Amazon-owned website IMDb has now launched Freedive, which offers a selection of Hollywood movies and TV shows for free. The new service was initially reported as planned to exclusively support Amazon Fire TV devices, but it turns out those without one can still access Freedive via IMDB's website on their laptop or desktop computers. However, those wanting to watch on a mobile device appear to be out of luck for now.
At the moment, Freedive doesn't appear to have a very wide selection, but that's fairly common for these ad-supported streaming services when they first launch. Presumably, more titles will be added as time goes on. For now, a quick sampling of the movies offered includes Christopher Nolan's Memento, Tony Scott's True Romance, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, the classic courtroom drama A Few Good Men, the 1990s retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula, acclaimed biopic The People vs. Larry Flynt, and the horror cult classic Night of the Creeps. Some of the few TV shows currently offered include Fringe, Heroes, Quantum Leap, Caprica, and Without a Trace.
Obviously, the starting selection of IMDb Freedive leaves quite a bit to be desired, which is unfortunately not too unusual when it comes to free streaming platforms. That said, one certainly can't beat the price, provided some commercial interruptions aren't a deal breaker. One wonders who'll be next to join the ad-supported streaming fray.
Source: The Wrap