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Lost, Ally McBeal and My So-Called Life will soon be available to stream for free — with a catch.
Those hits are among a group of more than 20 shows are coming to the Amazon-owned IMDb TV platform as part of a larger deal with Disney’s Direct-to Consumer and International department. The catch is that all of them will stream with ads as IMDb TV is an ad-supported free-to-stream platform.
Shows included in the deal include Desperate Housewives, My So-Called Life, White Collar and The Glades — all of which are available to stream now on IMDb TV. Full seasons of Lost, Malcolm in the Middle and Ally McBeal will also be added to the platform in the coming months. Timed to the 10th anniversary of the Lost finale, the former ABC drama will be available on May 1. Ally McBeal is set to bow April 1, while Malcolm will debut on the service June 1. IMDb TV will be the exclusive free streaming service for both Lost and Malcolm. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.
All of the shows listed above — save for My So-Called Life — will continue to stream ad-free on the Disney-backed subscription service Hulu. Other titles coming to IMDb TV include L.A. Law, Lie to Me, Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Private Practice, Revenge, the original Roswell, St. Elsewhere, Ugly Betty and the mega-bomb Terra Nova. (A full list of the 20-plus shows included in the Disney-IMDb TV deal can be found below.)
The news arrives as streaming rights continue to be a rich growth area for media conglomerates like Disney. Streaming rights to mega-hits like The Office and Friends have sold for between $400 million to $500 million. Key to those deals (with NBCUniversal-owned Peacock, and Warner Media’s HBO Max, respectively) is that they will be the exclusive, ad-free platform for both shows on a domestic basis.
As the traditional syndication market erodes in favor of streaming deals, conglomerates like Disney, Warner Media and NBCUniversal are finding additional revenue with a variety of pacts for in-demand library titles that are often used to help bolster an upstart service. A show like The Office, for example, can score a rich exclusive domestic streaming deal on a subscription service like Peacock and then score a second streaming deal with an ad-supported platform such as IMDb TV. (That still leaves international streaming rights and, in some cases, programs like Law & Order: SVU can be sold to multiple SVOD platforms on a non-exclusive basis.)
Here is the full list of titles coming to IMDb TV:
Lie to Me
Malcolm in the Middle
My So-Called Life
Witches of East End
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