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 2 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.
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gromit82, Champion

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Thanks, Col. A combined search of Instant Watch Options for Internet Archive and Withoutabox is much closer to what I had been hoping to find than I had been able to find on my own.

If anything can be done to clarify the options on the Advanced Title Search form, that would be great. Thanks for your help!
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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First step live -- we have removed the redundant providers from the advanced title search form. 
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gromit82, Champion

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I'm bringing up this subject again because it looks like all the links to public domain films on the Internet Archive have been removed from IMDb. See http://www.imdb.com/search/title?online_availability=US/today/Internet%20Archive/free&sort=num_v... -- there are no films in the category "Most Voted Titles With Online Videos Available on Internet Archive".

Granted, there are some films available in the "Free on IMDb" and "Without A Box" categories. But the Internet Archive still has its collection of films available -- see https://archive.org/details/feature_films?&sort=-downloads. So it would be preferable for IMDb to continue to maintain those links on its site so that users will be able to find those films more easily.
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Thanks -- we have contacted the appropriate team here. 
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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We have removed the search option from advanced title search to simplify the form. 

Next we will take all of the old Internet Archive links from the video system and re-add them to the corresponding title/externalsites pages in the "Video Clips & Trailers" sub-section (from whence they came originally when we imported them into the video system). 

It may to wait for the current technology migrations to complete first. 
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This is fixed and we have restored all the old archive.org links as external video links.  For example please see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040550/externalsites

Video Clips and Trailers
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gromit82, Champion

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Col: Thanks for adding these links. However, is it possible to search for films that have external video links? I'm not aware of a way to do so.

Furthermore, are there any films available for viewing free via Withoutabox anymore? A search like http://www.imdb.com/search/title?title_type=feature&online_availability=US%2Ftoday%2FWithoutABox... doesn't find anything.

Basically, is there any search one can do that will help one find what is available to be watched for free, along the lines of your first response in this thread?
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Good catch, thanks.  We are looking at the options.