Freevee’s Potential Loss Would be a Crushing Blow to TV History

Your favorite canceled shows may be in big trouble.

BRAZIL - 2022/09/02: In this photo illustration, the Freevee logo is displayed on a smartphone scree...
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Where do TV shows go when they meet their end? When one-season wonders are canceled, they usually live out the rest of their lives in the bowels of streaming archives, but now they’re starting to just be deleted altogether. If fans are lucky, these shows will be available to purchase digitally, but sometimes they’re erased forever to save streaming platforms a few bucks.

There was always one last hope for archiving television and making it available to fans, but even that may now be in trouble. The apparent end of the most unsung streaming service may be signaling the end of an entire era of TV streaming.

According to AdWeek, Amazon plans to shut down Freevee, its free ad-supported streaming service previously known as IMDb TV. Freevee started as a FAST (free, ad-supported television) streaming service much like Tubi or Pluto TV, but set itself apart with originals like the surprise Emmy-nominated hit Jury Duty. While Amazon denies reports that Freevee will be shut down, the rumors come soon after Amazon revealed its basic paid service will introduce ads as well, which leaves Freevee with no apparent purpose.

Freevee made a name for itself with the unique comedy series Jury Duty.


FAST streamers like Freevee are crucial to the modern streaming landscape. While Netflix, Max, Hulu, and other big streamers focus on creating originals, FAST streamers have cataloged titles from television’s past. Take Luther, the BBC crime series starring Idris Elba. To watch it on streaming you’d either have to pay for a boutique streaming service like BritBox, or simply pull it up on Tubi or Pluto TV and watch with ads.

More importantly, FAST streamers also broadcast “channels,” 24/7 live streams interrupted by ads, to air shows unavailable on any traditional streaming service due to licensing restraints. If you want to watch Westworld, the first major HBO original series to be completely erased from Max, you could purchase digital streaming copies or pick up a Blu-Ray boxset. Or you could just pull up Tubi’s WB Watchlist channel, which plays episodes of Westworld and other HBO series on a 24/7 loop. You may not be able to binge the show on your terms, but it’s the most cost-effective way to watch.

FAST streamers are an underrated way to watch dead shows on-demand, and their replication of the original broadcast television experience is a unique way to keep old shows alive. As original shows scatter to other platforms or are removed altogether, FAST is an important safeguard in catching shows that fall through the cracks.

Streaming services are supposed to offer fans bottomless archives of TV history, but by purging old shows the moment they become unprofitable, they’ve instead made pop culture even more ephemeral. Freevee and similar services keep canceled shows alive for old fans to appreciate and new fans to discover. The platform is an essential library of material that would otherwise be lost to time, and its loss would be yet another signal that platform giants like Amazon simply don’t care about creators or fans.

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