In addition to announcing the date, Amazon-owned IMDb TV also said it is launching a 24-7 streaming channel dedicated to the show, enabling viewers to dip into it anytime. Sheindlin embarked on a new career chapter last November with Amazon after a 25-year relationship with CBS Media Ventures came to a disharmonious end. (In an interview last June with The Wall Street Journal, Sheindlin said what had been a “nice marriage” was headed toward a “Bill and Melinda Gates divorce.”)
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The new series reprises many of the tried-and-true elements of Judge Judy. (The names of upcoming cases include “Beauty Salon Brawl,” “Feuding Cousins” and “Unwanted Dog Pregnancy.”) Randy Douthit and Amy Freisleben, who spent 25 years with Sheindlin on her previous show, are back in key roles on Judy Justice, with Douthit exec producing and directing and Freisleben co-exec producing. Former CBS exec Scott Koondel is also an executive producer.
On IMDbTV, the Judy Justice channel will be flanked by 50 other destinations known in the industry by the acronym FAST, short for free ad-supported television. Although advertising is growing across on-demand streaming, FAST has also become a key element for hubs like Roku Channel, Tubi and Peacock, which followed Pluto TV’s early focus on live programming. Other channels housed on IMDb TV focus on Supermarket Sweep and Bob Barker-hosted episodes of The Price is Right. The rest are organized by themes like comedy and animation, or are partnership offerings like Tiny House Nation, Electric Now, America’s Test Kitchen, Crime 360 and This Old House.
The larger strategy driving IMDb TV, which has a roster of originals as well as library fare, is Amazon’s effort to gain ground in advertising. Streaming video has taken a central place in that push. Along with the ad-free Prime Video, the company’s streaming portfolio includes gamer-centric live programming hub Twitch and a growing live sports operation. Sports will take a major leap this year with the arrival of exclusive Thursday night NFL broadcasts in the fall, the start of a landmark 11-year rights deal.
In its first-ever presentation during the NewFronts last spring, Amazon said its video offerings reach 120 million viewers of ad-supported streaming, up from 20 million in January 2020. IMDb TV, which launched in 2019 as Freedive before rebranding, saw 138% year-over-year growth in viewing. While the parent company doesn’t break out advertising as a line item in its financial reports, it is the dominant portion of the revenue category labeled “other.” In its most recent quarter, Amazon’s “other” revenue jumped 49% from the prior year to $8.1 billion. As a digital ad heavyweight it is closing the gap with longtime rivals Facebook and Google.
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