Big news in the world of streaming television: IMDb is getting into the game with a free video service. While Netflix and Hulu dominate the game, streaming has become ubiquitous, with Disney and Nickelodeon getting on board. As publications like Vice and BuzzFeed ramp up their original video content, it's not all that surprising that a site focused on entertainment is entering the fold.
IMDb, which is owned by Amazon, currently acts primarily as a database in which users can search for movies, TV shows, and the people in front of and behind the camera. However, the site has grown to feature original content over the years, including interviews, polls, quizzes, curated news, photo galleries, and more. The mark of its parent company can be seen in special sub-category, labeled Amazon Originals, which highlights the series under Amazon's umbrella, like recent award-winner The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Now, it appears that they are increasing their synergy.
Though the official announcement has yet to be made, CNBC reports that IMDb's free, ad-supported video service will be announced at the upcoming Advertising Week in New York. Like The Roku Channel, which is only available to owners of Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV users will be granted exclusive access to the service. This could also eventually extend to Prime Video titles.
While nothing is known about the content, other than that it could include the past titles of various networks, it is easy to see where the main draw is here for Amazon: advertising revenue. The expansion of the Fire TV service beyond the current commercials will give Amazon more insight into user preferences. As CNBC notes, there are even more opportunities for ads here than on a regular streaming service, with the possibility of "wrap around ads", such as those often visible on other video platforms.
Amazon is a giant when it comes to advertising - it's currently the third-largest digital advertiser, behind Google and Facebook. Facebook has obviously made its own strides into the streaming world, but Amazon has a definite advantage here when factoring in a subsidiary like IMDb that is already based around TV and film, and with the use of a product that many already have. Interestingly, Amazon will sweeten the deal for marketers in order to created better-targeted video advertising by giving them a look at some of the behind-the-scenes data. Depending on what content is made available, this could convince some to purchase Fire TV and also benefit the e-commerce giant by driving more traffic to its partners.