IMDb TV Gets ‘The Walking Dead Universe Experience’

AMC Networks’ record-breaking zombie series “The Walking Dead” has been given expanded pay-TV life via an 11th season (30 episodes) split over two years through 2022. And monetization of past episodes and the brand via third-party over-the-top video distribution is becoming its own expanding ecosystem.

AMC Sept. 11 announced a deal with Amazon-owned IMDb TV, the ad-supported “Free Television” video-on-demand platform, for “The Walking Dead Universe Experience,” among six content channels joining the platform. The “Experience” will offer IMDb TV viewers exclusive access to select “Walking Dead” episodes, in addition to related series such as “Fear the Walking Dead” and “Ride With Norman Reedus,” and bonus material, cast interviews and related digital content.

IMDb TV is also getting AMC: Presents (movies and TV shows), Absolute Reality by WE tv, Rush by AMC (thrillers, action, and horror content), IFC Films Picks, and Slightly Off by IFC. The addition of AMC Networks bring to 20, the number of separate content channels available “live” (not VOD) via IMDb TV.

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“This comprehensive, tailored content solution for IMDb makes the great shows and franchises AMC Networks is known for available to even more fans and viewers and expands our programming footprint in a compelling way on an exciting and emerging platform,” Kim Kelleher, president of advertising sales and partnerships for AMC Networks, said in a statement.

The series has also given life to an expanding lucrative content ecosystem that currently includes “Talking Dead”; spinoff “Fear the Walking Dead,” returning for its sixth season on Oct. 11; “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” a new series about the first generation raised in the apocalypse, debuting Oct. 4; a feature film being produced by Universal Pictures, Skybound and AMC, focused on the Rick Grimes character played by Andrew Lincoln; a new spinoff planned for 2023 focused on the popular Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) characters; and the new “Tales of the Walking Dead” episodic anthology series.

“The Walking Dead” premiered on Halloween night in 2010 as the No. 1 cable series launch of all time, later surpassed by other AMC series “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” spin-off “Better Call Saul” and “Into the Badlands,” and is the most-watched series in cable history. It was also the first cable series to become the No. 1 show in all of television, including broadcast, a rank it held for five consecutive years. In its current 10th season, “The Walking Dead” remains the No. 1 series on basic cable for the 11th consecutive year. All of the top 73 cable entertainment telecasts for the past decade have been airings of “The Walking Dead.”

Amazon CFO: First-Time Prime Video Use Doubled in Q1

With schools shuttered and millions of families housebound due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon in March made thousands of hours of content available for free on Prime Video without requiring a Prime membership. Amazon has more than 112 million Prime members worldwide.

That promotion, among others, contributed to Prime Video doubling its first-time user base in the first quarter — a trend that included transactional VOD movies and third-party over-the-top video access through Amazon Channels.

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Speaking on the April 29 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said Amazon hoped the offer of free content, including ad-supported IMDb TV, would highlight the video aspects of the Prime membership to existing users and casual browsers.

“We are seeing a lot more use of our video and digital media benefits,” Olsavsky said, adding that increased numbers of consumers are also benefiting from Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated software in its CE products.

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“They’re asking questions specific to COVID-19, using it for education for their children, and we’re seeing a lot more of it used on the communication side,” he said. “It gives people and members a good opportunity to use all their Prime benefits [including music streaming and books], which they hadn’t used as much in the past.”

TiVo Adds Content Partners to Streaming Video Service

TiVo Jan. 8 formally announced an additional 23 new content partners for its ad-supported TiVo+ video network. The new channels join the current lineup of 26 streaming channels available to TiVo customers.

New content partners include USA Today, Cheddar, Top Stories by Newsy, Sportswire and MMA Junkie. Lifestyle channels include Condé Nast, Tastemade, Latido Music, Mobcrush and Revry.

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The Condé Nast partnership will bring programming from Glamour, Bon Appetit, Traveler, GQ and Wired, while the Tastemade partnership will bring Food, Travel and Home Design programming.

The comedy genre will expand to include “Funny or Die” and “The Chive”. TiVo+ Kids, movies and TV categories will now include “Mr. Bean & Friends,” “Kabillion,” “Law & Crime,” “American Classics,” “OMG! Network” and “Reel Truth.”

TiVo+ is attempting to join a growing ad-supported VOD market that includes The Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Pluto TV, Tubi, Shout! Factory TV and Crackle, among others.

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“In a world where people have more entertainment subscriptions than they can count on one hand, TiVo is working to bring everything together in one place for viewers,” CEO Dave Shull said in a statement.