IMDb Announces First Scripted Series ‘You’re Not a Monster’

Online site IMDb has announced its first-ever scripted show, the animated series “You’re Not a Monster” debuting this fall.

Fans at San Diego Comic-Con this month will get a sneak peek of the 10-episode, short-form series when its trailer premieres on the IMDboat.

The show joins other IMDb original series “The IMDb Show,” “IMDbrief” and “Casting Calls.”

In “You’re Not a Monster,” Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) voices a former psychiatrist-turned-vampire who mentors his great-great grandson Max (Eric Stonestreet), a therapist who has inherited his practice. In each four- to five-minute episode, Max treats classic monsters, including Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and Medusa, as they seek therapeutic help. Rounding out the voice cast is Aparna Nancherla as a demon receptionist, Ellie Kemper as a therapist who thinks Max is imagining everything, and Peter Grosz, Langston Kerman, Joel Kim Booster, Patton Oswalt, Adam Pally, Amber Ruffin, Amy Sedaris and Milana Vayntrub as monsters.

Show creators and cast members, including Grammer and Nancherla, will participate in an exclusive interview with host Kevin Smith on the IMDboat at Comic-Con July 20.

“Monsters are people, too,” said Grammer, who serves as executive producer of the series, in a statement.

The comedy series is created and written by four-time Emmy-winner Frank Lesser (“The Colbert Report”). Lily Stuart Streiff serves as Animation Director.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“As a movie fan, I’ve always loved IMDb and am excited to work with them to humanize these inhuman creatures,” said Lesser in a statement. “Plus, I figured this would be the easiest way to get another credit on my IMDb page. ‘You’re Not a Monster’ is a show with a lot of heart. And, yes, sometimes that heart is lying in a pool of blood, but it still looks adorable thanks to Lily’s Streiff’s delightful character design.”

“We are thrilled to offer a new original comedy series to our fans as we shine a light on the daily struggles faced by classic movie monsters,” said Steve Bernstein, GM of IMDb Video, in a statement. “’You’re Not a Monster’ is not only the first-ever animated series for IMDb, but also our first scripted program, and introducing the show on the IMDboat at San Diego Comic-Con is the perfect place to share its fun narrative alongside members of the incredible cast.”

“You’re Not a Monster” premieres this fall at www.imdb.com/monster, on the IMDb TV free streaming video channel, and on the IMDb iOS and Android apps.

IMDb, also worldwide source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities, is an Amazon company.

Amazon Ups Q4 Online Sales 13% to $39.8 Billion

Amazon Jan. 31 said it increased fourth-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) online sales 13% to $39.8 billion from $35.3 billion during the previous-year period. Online sales include media products sold in physical (DVD/Blu-ray Disc) and digital formats, including books, games, videos and software.

Subscription revenue, which includes Prime (and Prime Video) memberships, audiobooks, e-books, digital music and other non-Amazon Web Services revenue, increased 25% to $3.95 billion, compared to $3.17 billion last year.

Other home entertainment highlights in the quarter included the launch of IMDb Freedive, an ad-supported VOD channel available in the U.S. on the IMDb website via laptop or personal computer and on all Fire TV devices.

Prime Video became available on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 in the U.S., giving Prime members with Xfinity access to thousands of additional premium shows and movies online. Additionally, Amazon launched NBA League Pass and PGA Tour Live on Prime Video Channels.

Prime members can now stream out-of-market NBA games live or on-demand with a subscription to NBA League Pass for $28.99/month or $169.99 for a Season Pass. Prime members in the U.S. can also subscribe to PGA Tour Live to watch live coverage across 28 PGA tournaments per year for $9.99/month or $64.99 per season.

Amazon Studios’ Cold War was recognized for three Academy Award nominations – Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director for Pawel Pawlikowski, and Best Cinematography for Lukasz Zal.

Amazon Studios was recognized with 10 Golden Globe Awards nominations and two wins: Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical for her performance in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” for the second year in a row and Ben Whishaw won Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for his role in “A Very English Scandal.”

Prime Video Original Series, “Inside Edge” became the first Indian show from a video streaming service to be nominated for the International Emmy Awards.

Prime Video introduced localized Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu language user interfaces in India. Prime members can now stream movies titles and original series with a Hindi, Tamil, or Telugu user interface, including search, navigation, browse, and customer support.

 

Amazon’s IMDb.com Bows Original Comedy Series

Amazon-owned movie/TV show database IMDb.com Jan. 16 announced the premiere of “UnMade” (www.imdb.com/unmade), a new original series that follows comedians as they share the plots, inspirations and stories for projects that are not listed on IMDb, because they were never produced … until now.

In each episode – also available on just-launched ad-supported VOD service IMDb Freedive – celebrity comedians remember projects they wrote before they were famous – and, spoiler alert – Hollywood missed out on some winners. These ambitious yet sometimes misguided scripts are given a second chance and brought to life via a team of actors and a professional production crew.

The first three episodes feature Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers), Kristen Schaal (“Last Man on Earth”) and Rainn Wilson (“The Office”) sharing ideas for “unmade” projects. Future guests include Nick Cannon, Bobby Moynihan, Tig Notaro, Paul Rust, Reggie Watts and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Schaal’s episode takes viewers behind the scenes of her film Avant Garde, which she developed during a college screenwriting class.

The series is produced for IMDb by production company Big Breakfast in Los Angeles.

Viewers can catch new weekly episodes on IMDb’s iOS and Android apps, and the recently launched IMDb Freedive channel, available on IMDb desktop and Fire TV. Fans will also receive regular updates and show content on the IMDb Facebook, YouTube and Twitter channels.

“UnMade provides fans with a comedic new perspective on how the industry works, and why certain projects get made… or don’t,” Steve Bernstein, GM of IMDb Video, said in a statement. “Following the success of IMDb original series like ‘The IMDb Show,’ ‘So Far,’ ‘No Small Parts,’ and ‘Casting Calls,’ we are thrilled to team up with Big Breakfast to offer even more original videos for our customers to dive deeper into the stories that shape the industry.”

 

News Analysis: AVOD Just Got Real

The biggest news during last week’s CES occurred hundreds of miles away in Los Angeles.

Amazon’s IMDb.com movie industry website confirmed previous rumors and nixed executive denials with the launch of a branded ad-supported video streaming platform.

IMDb Freedive enables customers to watch TV shows, including “Fringe,” “Heroes,” “The Bachelor” and “Without a Trace,” as well as movies, such as Awakenings, Foxcatcher, Memento, Monster, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist, The Last Samurai and True Romance, without purchasing a subscription, according to Media Play News’ Stephanie Prange.

The launch is significant. Heretofore, AVOD was a distant stepchild to SVOD — the latter spearheaded by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. With a media landscape littered with SVOD and subscription-based online TV, ad-supported platforms offer an economical (i.e. free) alternative.

To be sure, Sony Crackle and Shout! TV have offered ad-supported content without subscription largely to niche audiences for some time. The Roku Channel upped the format by tapping into a user base of more than 27 million Roku subscribers — users who registered to the platform for access to third-party platforms such as Netflix.

The channel, which features catalog TV shows and movies, is now among Roku’s Top 5 accessed platforms. Roku recently licensed the platform to Samsung’s Internet-connected TVs.

“Strong active account growth and accelerating streaming hours point to consumers’ growing enthusiasm for [free] streaming,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood.

Freedive takes AVOD to another level.

Long before there was Google, IMDb.com was the go-to source for actors, TV shows, movies and behind-the-scenes information. Through October, the platform had about 5.3 million titles (including episodes) and 9.3 million personalities in its database, as well as 83 million registered users. Subscription-based IMDb Pro is considered a must-have database for the business-side of Hollywood.

“Once you’ve signed up for Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, you’re more than $30 deep,” Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO of Xumo, an-ad-supported live TV/on-demand platform, told Digiday.com. “Price-sensitive consumers are seeing [free video streaming services] as viable alternatives or complements to paid services — that’s probably the biggest factor.”

Los Angeles-based Pluto TV launched in 2013 featuring about 100 channels via an ad-supported app that operates on 14 platforms, including Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku and PlayStation consoles.

Last August, Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio rolled out WatchFree, a proprietary ad-supported streaming video platform that partnered with Pluto TV featuring action movies, black cinema, news channels, NBC News, MSNBC, Fox Sports and related fare.

NBC Universal plans to roll out an ad-supported streaming video service in 2020. The media company Jan. 14 re-organized its management structure to accommodate the future streaming service.

Bonnie Hammer, who was named chairman of direct-to-consumer and digital enterprises, will also oversee NBCU stakes in digital media outlets, including Vox, Snap and BuzzFeed.

The ad-supported service will be available at no cost to NBC Universal’s pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. and major international markets. Comcast Cable and Sky will provide the service to their 52 million subscribers. An ad-free version will also be available for a fee.

Additionally, non-pay TV customers can purchase a subscription to the service. Consistent with the company’s long-standing strategy to distribute its content broadly, NBC Universal will continue to license content to other studios and platforms, while retaining rights to certain titles for its new service.

“Our new service will be different than those presently in the market and it will be built on the company’s strengths, with NBC Universal’s great content and the technology expertise, broad scale and the wide distribution of Comcast Cable and Sky,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBC Universal.

Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, doubts AVOD will threaten Netflix & Co. anytime soon. He considers the formats largely supplemental to SVOD.

“I’m sure that there are people who can’t afford Netflix who will watch, and there are a handful of subscribers who will defect from Netflix, but most subscribers appreciate the unique content available only on Netflix and will remain subscribers so long as there is fresh original content,” he said.

IMDb Launches AVOD Entertainment Streaming Channel

Movie website IMDb Jan. 10 announced the launch of IMDb Freedive, a free, ad-supported streaming entertainment video channel.

The channel is available in the United States on the IMDb website (www.imdb.com/freedive) via laptop, personal computer and on all Amazon Fire TV devices, according to the company, which is a subsidiary of Amazon.com.

IMDb Freedive enables customers to watch TV shows, including “Fringe,” “Heroes,” “The Bachelor” and “Without a Trace,” as well as movies, such as Awakenings, Foxcatcher, Memento, Monster, Run Lola Run, The Illusionist, The Last Samurai and True Romance, without purchasing a subscription, the company announced.

In launching the site, IMDb is expanding its video offering beyond short-form original series, trailers and celebrity interviews. Customers also can use “X-Ray,”  powered by the information on IMDb, to get information about cast, crew, trivia, soundtracks and more.

IMDb original video series, including “The IMDb Show,” “Casting Calls” and “No Small Parts,” are also available to stream on IMDb Freedive.

“Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch,” said Col Needham, founder and CEO of IMDb, in a statement. “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.”

Fire TV customers will see the IMDb Freedive icon in the “Your Apps & Channels” row. On Fire TV, consumers can say “Alexa, go to Freedive,” to access the site.

The IMDb Freedive catalog will continue to evolve, with new titles added regularly, according to the company.

Amazon Quashes Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service Rumor

Amazon Oct. 25 nixed media reports the ecommerce behemoth planned to launch a free streaming video service under its IMDb.com brand and accessible via the Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

“We have no plans to build an ad-supported Prime Video offering for free at this time,” Dave Fildes, head of investor relations, said on the fiscal call.

First reported earlier this month by CNBC, the over-the-top service reportedly would have offered catalog movies and TV shows – with advertisers getting access – for the first time to proprietary user data.

With Amazon spending $5 billion on original content for its Prime Video platform this year, and user data a coveted proprietary asset, the likelihood of an in-house competing video streaming service seemed farfetched.

Then again, ad-supported video streaming is the backbone of The Roku Channel, Hulu’s entry-level subscription plan, Sony Crackle and Shout! Factory TV, among others.

 

Amazon’s IMDb.com Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video Service

Taking a page from Roku and Hulu, Amazon reportedly plans to launch a free streaming video service under its IMDb.com brand and accessible via the Amazon Fire TV streaming device.

The service, which could be launched as early as this week, would offer catalog movies and TV shows – with advertisers getting access – for the first time – to proprietary user data, according to CNBC.com, which cited multiple sources familiar with the situation.

The IMDb service would be separate from Amazon Prime Video and enable Amazon to expand its digital advertising market penetration – currently around 4%, according to eMarketer.com. The marketing service said Facebook and Google have a combined 57% market share in digital advertising.

Ad-supported video streaming is the backbone of The Roku Channel, Hulu’s entry-level subscription plan, Sony Crackle and Shout! Factory TV, among others.

The Roku Channel launched in 2017, is now the fifth-most popular service on the Roku platform, according to the Los Gatos, Calif.-based tech company, which helped Netflix bow a branded streaming media device in 2008.

“Our users are looking for great free content, and with the launch of The Roku Channel we are making it easy for them to find it,” said Rob Holmes, VP of programming at Roku.

Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin in August valued The Roku Channel at around $1 billion – about 20% of Roku’s market cap.

 

Amazon’s IMDb.com Live-Streaming Academy Awards Companion Show

Amazon-owned website Internet Movie Database Feb. 28 announced it will for the second year offer a live streaming companion show to the 90th Annual Academy Awards, dubbed “IMDb Live Viewing Party.”

The live 4:30 pm (Pacific) event March 4 at the former CBS Radio Studio in Los Angeles will be available on IMDb.com, the IMDb mobile app, Twitter and Twitch.

The event will feature conversations with celebrity guests, past nominees, experts and industry insiders, along with IMDb data and information.

In addition to “The IMDb Show” co-hosts Tim Kash and Kerri Doherty, celebrities slated to appear include Aisha Tyler (“Criminal Minds,” “Archer”), Anne Heche (“The Brave”), Lea Thompson (“Switched At Birth”), past winner Tatum O’Neal (Paper Moon), two-time nominee Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), longtime Academy head writer Bruce Vilanch, IMDb’s founder and CEO Col Needham, Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”), Tamara Taylor (“Altered Carbon”), and Boots Riley (“Sorry To Bother You”), among others.

“Our goal is to produce a multi-hour, live Academy Awards companion show that is worthy of Hollywood’s biggest night,” Needham said in a statement.

“Twitter is the place to see and join the real-time Oscars conversation,” added Kay Madati, global head of content partnerships. “We’re excited to collaborate with IMDb to bring fans this behind-the-scenes broadcast alongside the real-time commentary from experts and fans during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights.”

The Oscars will be broadcast on ABC at 5 pm (Pacific), and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.