How IMDb makes money out of movie databases.
I love movies.
Going to cinema and talking about actors, characters, subplots and meta moments in films gives me a fuzzy feeling, because isn’t it nice to sometimes escape real life? 😀
To get all the geeky knowledge with which one is able to point out what the most interesting part of a movie will be (without ever having seen it) it is nearly compulsory to read a movie magazine.
My favourite magazine is EMPIRE, which is based in the United Kingdom and is coincidentally the biggest selling movie magazine there. I buy it faithfully every month and it costs me the horrendous sum of 11.50€, because it is imported from the UK.
But what makes the magazine so special? Don’t expect to get more information about classy art films, but instead enjoy funny and very ironic reviews and articles about contemporary mainstream movies. The humour is unmatched: the Brits just know how to make me laugh hysterically, even though I am sitting in the hot and sticking S-Bahn, cramped full of people, not being able to move.
So every Sunday, I visit the beautiful empireonline.com homepage to try to solve the Ultimate Movie ‘insert random word’ Picture Quiz, in which the only thing you get to see, is a picture of a scene of a well know movie and a random thing. Then you need to write down the name.
I love things like that. Seriously.
Now for the people with delicate conditions I recommend the ‘The Ultimate Movie Wedding Picture Quiz’ in honour of Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton, but I definitely prefer the ‘The Ultimate Melee Weapons Picture Quiz’ .
After taking a glance and discovering that with Star Trek XI (my favourite :3), Thor, The Dark Knight and a whole range of other movies I positively adore, the quiz was only halfway solved, I needed to search for solutions of the other pictures.
And what a better way then to search for them on the Internet Movie Database!
Then, I was suddenly shaken out of my delirious movie induced craze.
What is more fitting to Structured Query Language which is about setting up databases, then an Internet Movie Database?
So I busily started my research about imbd.com.
The Internet Movie Database also know as simpy IMDb, is an online database of information about actors, characters, quotes, goofs, OSTs and other things related to movies, television shows but also to video games.
On 17th October 1990, IMDb, which hade been a hobby of future CEO Col Needham (a Brit, who would have thought otherwise…) went online on the so-called Usenet, which is one of the ‘oldest computer network systems still in use’ . Only in 1992 it moved to the World Wide Web, where a lot of users could contribute their movie knowledge.
In 1998 IMDb became the Internet Movie Database Ltd and the database grew every day. Because there was so much information, but not enough people to analyse and arrange it in a proper manner and most importantly not enough money to finance the company, IMBd was bought by Amazon.com in the same year.
Since I wanted to know more about how to make money with IMDb I googled ‘monetize IMDb’ and found out about different ways to earn money.
First of all, I wanted to know how IMDb itself was making money and I discovered the so-called Imdb Pro, which allows subscribers the opportunity to get access to a lot of details about film production and other interesting facts of the movie industries. Alas, to get access, one has to pay 99$ a year.
And that is not all: Because IMDb belongs to Amazon.com, one can find on every movie page a link to Amazon, where one can immediately buy the DVD.
I actually wanted to know more about the amount of revenue which is actually created by IMBd advertisement by Amazon, but I found out, that Amazon had not released any data. (source)
Now, because I already wrote about Facebook plugins in my second blog post, I knew that IMDb uses so-called social plugins, so that Facebook users can share their favourite movies, so that others are more interested in buying them.
Of course there a lot of different ways to buy space for advertisements on the website and thereby, the company which is advertising and IMDb itself can make profit.
I am quite amazed that something which started as database created by a nerdy Brit has become one of the most important movie related database in the internet. I never thought about the huge amount of advertisement when visiting the side, but I have to admit that I got tempted to buy DVDs simply because IMDb recommended them to me.
After all, when looking for movies, one is interested in them and isn’t it a nice service to be able to buy them without looking further?
Tell me what you think.
For further information, check this out: New York Times Article