Where have all the films and television shows gone (for viewing on IMDb.com)?

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In the not-too-distant past, as recently as December 2015 if not later, there was a fair number of films and television shows which could be watched on IMDb for free. Most, but not all of them, were made available on IMDb by Hulu.

Now, however, there seems to be hardly anything, except for trailers. The links at  http://www.imdb.com/features/video/browse/tv/ and http://www.imdb.com/features/video/browse/film/ don't go to pages dedicated to TV or film respectively -- both of them go to the trailers page, http://www.imdb.com/trailers.

An advanced title search indicates that there is hardly anything full-length to watch on IMDb any more. There appear to be no feature films (see http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/IMDb/free&sort=alpha,asc&title...), only 23 short films (see http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/IMDb/free&sort=alpha,asc&title...), and 35 television episodes -- of which 34 are from IMDb's own show, "IMDb: What to Watch" (see http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/IMDb/free&sort=alpha,asc&title...).

My guess is that IMDb's contract with Hulu expired, or something like that, and I assume that the staff wouldn't want to publicly comment on that. However, I would have guessed that there would be a nontrivial number of filmmakers who would upload their films for IMDb viewing just for the exposure, without having gone through Hulu. That's contemplated at http://www.imdb.com/help/search?domain=helpdesk_faq&index=4&file=how_to_upload&ref_=hlp_..., which says, "film/TV episodes are linked from video content partners (such as Amazon Video) or uploaded directly by filmmakers." (Emphasis added.)

So my questions are: 
  1. Is IMDb planning or hoping to make a larger quantity of films and television episodes available for viewing on the site again?
  2. Whether or not that is achieved, can we once again have pages along the lines of http://web.archive.org/web/20150815060411/http://www.imdb.com/features/video/browse/tv/ and http://web.archive.org/web/20151212051535/http://www.imdb.com/features/video/browse/film so we can see what is actually available for viewing full-length, as opposed to being guided only to watching trailers?
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gromit82, Champion

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Posted 4 years ago

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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Thanks for asking.  There's a bit of confusion here which is mostly to do with our (unclear) terminology. 

The "Free on IMDb" tag has only ever supposed to have been used for video content uploaded by IMDb and as such it is somewhat misleading on the ATS page (we will take a look at that in an upcoming redesign) plus some other video content seems to have accidentally leaked into that category (again we will clean-up). 

The free full-length video content (be it features or shorts) mentioned in the help text is all submitted via Withoutabox so the search query for that is http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/WithoutABox/free&title_type=featur... (6,000+ titles)

We also ingested links to some 700+ titles in the public domain on the Internet Archive -> http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/Internet%20Archive/free&title_type...

I see there are two redundant video provider links on ATS which need to be removed (CW & Crackle).

Finally, there are thousands of features, shorts and episodes available for free via Amazon Prime (assuming you have an Amazon Prime subscription) plus even more on a rental / purchase option.  This collection is growing at a massive rate.  All is linked into the ATS results via the two Amazon options plus displayed directly on all relevant /title/ pages in the appropriate countries. 

I think the above covers question #1

As to question #2 ... yes and no.   We are not planning a return to specific landing pages with everything included on browsable links because the volume is too large.  Instead we will continue to develop ATS and weave filters by viewing availabilty into the whole IMDb experience. For example, you can refine your Watchlist @ http://www.imdb.com/watchlist by availability via the "Refine" option at the top.  You can filter any user list the same way, for example, see "Refine List" options on the right of http://www.imdb.com/list/ls031184876/. Similarly via the "Refine" options on any plot keyword page, as in http://www.imdb.com/search/keyword?keywords=marvel-cinematic-universe 

Hope this helps and thanks for the (indirect) bug reports.