Amazon makes ‘vee’-ery odd rebranding decision for IMDb TV
The streamer is a free, ad-supported service that’s distinct from Amazon Prime Video, which requires a paid subscription.
It’s named after the Amazon-owned IMDb, originally short for Internet Movie Database, a site that offers a wide variety of information on films and TV shows, including cast and crew information.
Amazon bought the site in 1998.
IMDb TV was originally known as Freedive when it launched in 2019, so the new name has a bit of a connection to it.
The name is pronounced “free-V” but spelled as if the letter “V” is a word (as in “vee”), with the obvious play on words of turning “TV” into “Freevee,” with the additional reference to it being free.
For a logo, Amazon created a garish green-yellow logotype featuring super-tightly spaced letters with a free-flowing style. There is a distinct lowercase “f” at the beginning of the logotype, and the four “e”s in the name each have a distinctly shortened hook.
The logo design also uses the crossbar on the “f” to connect into the “r” while the second “e” has been modified to expand into the neighboring “v.”
The service will officially be known as “Amazon Freevee,” but early logo designs released April 13, 2022, did not include the Amazon wordmark or smiling arrow design (though perhaps there’s a hint of a smile in all those “e”s).
The logo also notably does not use the bespoke Amazon Ember font that’s used across many, but not all, of Amazon’s brands, particularly ones that use the Amazon name as part of them.
Renaming the service will obviously separate the streamer from being linked, at least in consumers’ minds, to IMDb TV.
The “IMDb TV” branding is classic example of so-called corporate synergy and co-branding efforts. Having to say six letters in a row was could be a bit awkward and, while the name Freevee certainly rolls off the tongue easier, its odd spelling might be awkward to some.
It also harkens back to the NBCUniversal’s efforts to rebrand the Sci-Fi Channel to “Syfy” and the now-defunct Sleuth to “Cloo” (pronounced “Clue”) in an effort to create words that could be trademarks — if not win any spelling bees.
The invented word is sort of a strange cross between “frisbee” and “creepy” as well.
The use of such an odd spelling also conjures connections to that time in 2011 when Netflix was going to rename its DVD-by-mail service to “Qwikster” — a move that it later backtracked on.
Amazon did not appear to have control of the domain freevee.com nor the “@freevee” handle on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as of this writing.
It also appears there is a telecommunications company in New Zealand called ICS Freevee.
IMDb TV features a limited selection of movies, TV shows and originals as well as live channels centered around a particular show or genre.
It also includes a selection of original series, including “Judy Justice” from former “Judge Judy” host Judith Sheindlin, “Alex Rider” and “Leverage: Redemption.” It also features content that is a co-production between IMDb TV and another company or exclusively licensed from international networks.
It is also slated to get a spinoff of the Amazon Prime Video series “Bosch” called “Bosch: Legacy” and Season 2 of the former WGN America series “Almost Paradise.”