Amazon's ad-supported IMDb TV service launches in the U.K.

Mike Wheatley

Amazon says its free video streaming service IMDb TV is now available in the U.K. IMDb is an ad-supported platform that lets viewers watch a selection of Amazon originals and third-party TV shows at no cost, though they will be bombarded with advertisements for the privilege of doing so.


The service is launching in the U.K. through the “IMDb TV – Popular Movies and TV – free with ads” section within the Amazon Prime Video app, so interested viewers will need to download that first if they want immediate access.

Alternatively, the company is also going to make IMDb TV available via a standalone app on its Fire TV platform in the coming weeks, it said. So that’ll be an option for anyone with a Fire TV Cube or streaming stick, or one of Amazon’s new branded TVs. There was no mention of Android or iOS apps, which are available in the U.S.

Amazon views IMDb TV as a rival to services such as the BBC iPlayer and Freeview Play. It hs some pretty big titles in its catalog, such as Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, plus Lawrence of Arabia and Chinatown. Also available are Amazon Originals such as Moment of Truth, which is a five-part docuseries about the murder of NBA star Michael Jordan’s father.

Thousands of TV shows are also available through IMDb TV including The A-Team, Magnum P.I., Community, Babylon 5, Masterchef Australia and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

“You might see some overlap in licensed content with Prime Video, but the selection will be unique and bespoke because we’re obsessing over U.K. customers,” said IMDb TV’s co-head of content Ryan Pirozzi. “So we’ll tailor our selection to our customers in the U.K.”

The IMDb TV service is meant as an alternative for those who’re interested in Amazon’s Originals but are unwilling to pay for a subscription. They now get a free option, though of course they’ll have to sit through adverts at regular intervals. The ads can’t be skipped, but Amazon promises there will be fewer ads than what exist on traditional live TV.

IMDb TV was previously exclusive to the U.S., but its U.K. launch suggests Amazon has bigger plans for the service that will eventually lead to a global rollout. That may explain why IMDb TV was mentioned in Amazon Prime Video’s recent announcement it had signed a multi-year licensing deal with Universal to gain early access to some of its newest movies.