Amazon’s New Ad-Supported Video Channel Freedive Could Challenge Facebook And Google

Amazon’s release Thursday at CES of a free, ad-supported streaming video channel called IMDB Freedive could provide an opportunity for the digital giant to exhibit its targeting capabilities and pose a real threat to the Facebook-Google duopoly.

Freedive is currently available on Amazon Fire devices and through Amazon’s desktop site. With about 50 million Fire TV users, there’s a wide net of people who can easily access Freedive.

The channel has movies and TV shows available as well as IMDb original video series like “The IMDb Show” and “Casting Calls.” Reports about the ad-supported channel started circling in August 2017.

“This move by Amazon could prove really decisive in the direct-to-consumer war in connected TV this year,” BrightLine founder and CEO Jacqueline Corbelli told AdExchanger. Beyond Facebook and Google, Freedive also gives it stronger positioning against Netflix and Hulu.

It will also be interesting to see the extent to which Amazon’s unique purchase data could inform advertising on Freedive.

“We often say that ‘Facebook knows who you want to be, but Amazon knows who you really are,’” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at analytics company TVREV. “Someone might like Starbucks on Facebook but only get coffee there a couple times a year, but Amazon knows that same person has a standing order for Maxwell House coffee.”

Even Google only knows what a user searches for, Wolk added.

If anything, Freedive reinforces the position of many industry insiders that Amazon will be a tremendous advertising force, rivaling Facebook and Google, in the near future. S4 CEO Martin Sorrell predicted Amazon will at some point reach $100 billion in ad spend.

Pivotal Research predicts $38 billion in ad spend by 2023.

Advertising is currently Amazon’s fastest-growing business.

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