Power

The MGM acquisition will give yet another boost to Amazon's already massive ad business

Prime Video may get the next Bond movie, but don't forget about IMDb TV.

Actor Aldis Hodge looking at the camera with his arms folded

Amazon's IMDb TV is rebooting "Leverage." With MGM, the ad-supported video service may get many more originals.

Photo: Alfonso Bresciani

Amazon's $8.45 billion purchase of MGM doesn't just benefit Prime Video, and by proxy everything else that Prime members are spending money on. It's also a big boost to Amazon's advertising business, including its free, ad-supported IMDb TV video service.

IMDb TV has long flown under the radar. Launched in 2019 under the name Freedive, the service has seen some significant growth in recent months. Amazon has yet to release absolute viewer numbers for the service, but the company did reveal this month that IMDb TV's viewership increased 138% year-over-year.

  • During Amazon's first Newfronts presentation, the company also said that IMDb TV viewers spend an average of 5.5 hours with the service every week.
  • Amazon wants to keep growing that number by making IMDb TV more widely available. Earlier this year, the company launched an app on Google's Chromecast with Google TV streaming device. In the coming months, it plans to unveil standalone apps for iOS and Android.
  • Amazon has started to invest some real money into IMDb TV content, including a spin-off of the Prime original "Bosch," a Judge Judy reality TV show, a revival of "Leverage" and a bunch of other scripted and unscripted shows. IMDb TV's catalog also includes audience hits like "Mad Men," "Lost" and "Schitt's Creek."

Figuring out Amazon's motivation behind IMDb TV has been a bit of a challenge, just like many of the company's media plays. Is it a defensive play against free video services like Pluto, Tubi and the Roku Channel? Or is it a way for Amazon to build another funnel for its Prime subscription business by luring people in with free stuff, only to then up-sell them on Prime Video?

It's increasingly becoming clear that IMDb TV is more than that. It's part of a massive advertising business that Amazon has been building in plain sight:

  • Amazon reported around $21.5 billion in "other" revenues, the majority of which comes from advertising, last year. Those ad dollars come from sponsored product listings on Amazon.com, audio ads playing on Echo speakers and video advertising, among other things.
  • During the Newfronts, Amazon revealed that its OTT video advertising business now reaches over 120 million monthly active viewers. This includes IMDb TV, ads that Amazon runs in third-party streaming apps on Fire TV, as well as on Twitch.
  • Loop Capital recently estimated that Amazon is making more than twice as much money with ads as Twitter, Snap, Roku and Pinterest combined.

In this context, MGM isn't just about Amazon competing with Netflix and Disney+. We should expect a good chunk of its catalog of 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV show episodes to find their way to IMDb TV eventually, and the studio will also help Amazon create new originals for the ad-supported service. This, in turn, will make the service more attractive to advertisers who have increasingly been following audiences away from linear television, and could shift billions of additional ad dollars to streaming in the coming years.

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins