Introduction and Thanks
Welcome to the 27th edition of our annual letter to thank IMDb’s growing worldwide community of data contributors. As in years past, we are giving a special thank you to our Top 300 contributors, whose passion for entertainment makes IMDb better with each passing year. I am IMDb’s Founder & CEO and it is an honour each year, with fellow team member Jennifer, to reflect upon the improvements we have made to IMDb with your help. We marked IMDb’s 31st birthday in October 2021 and the tradition of sending this letter began in 1995 if you would like to catch-up on previous editions.
First, it is important to acknowledge that we are still in the midst of an ongoing and ever-evolving global pandemic and the situation remains difficult for so many. In July we lost a beloved IMDb team member to COVID-19; and although we feel the pain of their absence daily, we also celebrate and cherish their memory. We hope you have all been able to stay safe and well during 2021, and our thoughts and best wishes go out to everyone who is struggling during this unprecedented time.
IMDb is built by you, our data contributors, so thank you again. Every single data update is important and helps IMDb get closer to achieving its vision of powering the creation, discovery and enjoyment of entertainment everywhere. Entertainment itself continues to evolve with more movies, shows, shorts & games being produced each year. Also, IMDb’s coverage formally expanded to include both podcasts & music videos in 2021 as the boundaries between different media continue to blur. Similarly, IMDb’s reach across more devices, services, locations and languages is expanding, so the content you provide is being appreciated by more people than ever before. If you have not yet contributed any data to IMDb, you can learn more via our Contributor Zone.
The table at the end of this message shows the number of approved, non-duplicate data items which the Top 300 contributors have submitted in 2021, including corrections and deletions. The total number of contributors exceeded 900,000 people, and since March we have been posting monthly contributor rankings to Sprinklr. We have also made further improvements in terms of both processing times and publishing speed, even with record contribution volumes.
IMDb now includes:
- Over 8.7 million titles with more than 1.25 million added in 2021
- Almost 11.4 million names with over 800,000 added in 2021 (note a change to the counting methodology vs. 2020 due to name merges)
- Almost 155 million filmography credits with more than 16 million added in 2021
- Nearly 6.5 million user reviews with almost 1 million added in 2021
This makes two consecutive years with more than one million new titles added across the twelve months, which now equates to an average of over 3,400 new titles per day! Additional statistics are available in the press room and are updated quarterly.
This year over 16,000 items were required to make it onto the Top Contributors list.
... From a contributor perspective by Jennifer Reiley ...
While 2021 was definitely filled with highs and lows for many, personally I was immensely excited to finally return to the cinema in time to watch No Time To Die, a “must see” on the big screen. I also considered writing this section in the style of Lady Whistledown from Bridgerton but alas, dear reader, I have not. I am thrilled to be able to share the progress we have made over the year with you and want to start by saying thanks. In 2018 we said, “Your contributions can have an enormously wide reach, one that is expanding fast” and this year that statement is truer than ever.
Something that we are particularly excited about this year was the expansion of title types supported by IMDb to include Podcasts and Music Videos! In October, we launched the first new title type in 16 years -- Podcast Series and Episodes -- followed quickly by the launch of Music Videos in November. It’s a very exciting time for us to provide these new entertainment categories, and appreciate all of your contributions and support along the way. If you haven’t had a chance, check out the new contribution form for adding a podcast or music video, and if you are interested in learning more about contributing a podcast or music video, you can visit our Submission Guide.
We have also been doing a lot of work to support our global contributor base, improving functionality and offerings. For example, we enabled contribution of Devanagari (Hindi script) Alternate Titles and launched non-English plot outlines on IMDb title pages. We remain committed to improving the experience for our global contributor base, so stay tuned for ongoing improvements in this area!
We continue to invest in IMDb Answers, a tool designed to help you contribute in a fast and easy way by answering the most up-to-date feed of questions. In July, we launched the IMDb Answers Top Gap feature across all IMDb title pages and added release dates and certificates question types to the new IMDb Answers experience.
As a reminder, we continuously update the Contributor Help section by adding and revising submission guides, such as the addition of the guide for Showrunners and Head writers and updates to the Name guide to support Eastern Name formatting. This remains the place to keep up-to-date on how to contribute to IMDb. You may have also noticed that we have added a survey to the bottom of each guide, so you can let us know if the guide was useful or let us know when we need to make clarifications.
We’ve also been making some exciting updates for industry professionals using IMDbPro. In March, we added the ability to contribute a department head attribute and in July, we launched primary profession selection in IMDbPro which allows IMDbPro members the ability to control how and what profession is displayed on their name pages across IMDb and IMDbPro. This change improves name discoverability, so members can promote themselves, get hired, grow their network, and advance their career. We also launched the ability to set a primary contact to help industry professionals quickly reach the right person.
As always, I want to thank you for making IMDb the world’s most trusted source for movie, TV, and entertainment content. Entertainment fans like you are essential to our success, and we’ll continue to listen to your feedback to improve IMDb. As a reminder, we welcome your thoughts, questions and feedback on our Community forum which we actively monitor and engage on – head on over to share your thoughts!
... From a customer perspective by Col Needham ...
One of the exciting things about working at IMDb is that new content is added by the minute; we are also always updating the software which drives the features and services built on top of this content. In July we completed the launch of our new title pages which use a responsive design on new scalable technology. We have recently completed the beta testing of a new multi-language experience across all of the pages built on this new technology (including title, home, photos and video) which provides access to the labels and some content across several languages according to customer location and preferences. A formal launch will be ready in 2022, and more translated pages will be supported as we move further onto the new technology. We have also started to localise search results across the site and apps to make titles easier to find.
You may have seen video playing an increasing role across IMDb. We cover filmed (and more) entertainment and so it is only natural to weave more video into the IMDb experience itself. See our (virtual) awards and festival coverage. In addition to many new original videos, we produced a second series of our podcast Movies That Changed My Life, and launched a new podcast IMDb Is Obsessed. You can learn more in our Podcasts section.
For US, and now UK customers too, we added movies and shows to our free advertising supported streaming service, IMDb TV, which is available on many of the devices having access to Amazon Prime Video. We have also expanded the number of streaming providers supported by our “watch” buttons directly on IMDb title pages and our What to Watch section, plus other where-to-watch features across the site and apps.
Our annual Best Of section is the biggest ever, looking at top names, titles, trends, and more across 2021, including a highly entertaining video of IMDb “Breakout” STARmeter award winner, Ben Barnes accepting his award and talking about his varied roles and career thus far.
You can also follow us on our various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, and YouTube. Thanks also to our poll community for creating such engaging content for fans. You are always welcome to vote or even submit your own polls.
For our entertainment industry professional customers, we made further improvements to IMDbPro and Box Office Mojo. We highlighted additional industry lists on the IMDbPro homepage and have continued enhancing our beta product, IMDbPro Discover. We also supported several industry events throughout the year, including The Sundance Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival, as well as inclusion initiatives such as The Easterseals Film Disability Challenge and the Media Access Awards, The OUTFEST LA Film Festival and the Legacy Awards, and The Women in Film & TV UK Awards. We once again provided data to ReFrame as the basis for their ReFrame Stamp initiative to highlight gender-balanced TV and film productions.
We are hiring to support our continued growth, and now offer virtual opportunities, so if you would like to join our team of passionate entertainment and tech professionals, or would like to recommend a qualified friend, please see our jobs page.
25 December 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of Grand Canyon which contains my all-time favourite movie quote, “All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” I love this quote because it highlights the power of movies and TV to inform and entertain their audiences; by watching, people can be transported to other times, other places, other cultures, and to imaginary worlds, both past, present and future. The possibilities are endless. As humans we love to hear stories, to watch stories, and to tell stories. We feel very honoured at IMDb to help connect storytellers to their audiences and to help people discover great new things to watch, or learn more about what they have watched already and the people who made it possible. We want to share our love of entertainment with the world. Technology is rapidly changing how entertainment is made and how it is delivered to audiences. Whatever takes shape, we want to be alongside you -- our contributors and customers -- on new journeys of entertainment discovery.
Thank you again for all of your support during the year. As always, ideas and constructive feedback are welcome via Sprinklr, where you can also propose and vote upon ideas, including those pertaining to the following topics: IMDb, data, iOS, Android and IMDbPro. This letter will be posted to Sprinklr. If you are not in the Top 300 contributors this year and would like to know how much data you contributed along with your position outside of the Top 300, please post a reply to the announcement on Sprinklr.
We wish you a Happy New Year!
Col Needham IMDb Founder and CEO on behalf of the whole IMDb Team