Jan. 1, 2018
Introduction and Thanks
Welcome to the 23rd edition of our end-of-year message to IMDb's top data contributors. A year in which we celebrated IMDb's 27th birthday and in which we saw a record number of data contributions. In addition to sending this letter to our Top 250 contributors, it will now be distributed to everyone who contributed data in 2017. If this is your first time reading, I am IMDb's Founder and CEO and you can catch up on old editions of the letter here, as well as follow IMDb's progress in our press room.
We could just write "thank you" some several tens of millions of times, once for every new update you contributed in 2017, however, in this letter we like to draw attention to some of the achievements across the year. Let's start with an individual "thank you" for everything you have personally contributed - we could not do it without you - every data contribution is important, whether you are in the Top 250 or whether you made only one update.
We have continued to build new features across IMDb's website and mobile applications and we recently completed a major technology upgrade which will significantly increase the pace of developments in 2018 and beyond for our 250+ million monthly visitors worldwide. We are thrilled to see IMDb content in use outside of the IMDb platform, particularly at our parent company of (nearly) 20 years, Amazon.com. You will see IMDb content weaved throughout the Amazon Video experience, and IMDb is powering more of the entertainment questions via voice interfaces on Alexa devices too (especially try the fun MovieBot skill).
The table at the end of this message shows the number of approved, non-duplicate data items which the Top 250 have contributed in 2017, including corrections and deletions. A new record of nearly 500,000 different people in turn contributed a record volume of data in 2017. Even though contribution volumes have increased and the database is more complete, we still made significant reductions in the time between submission and publication, expanding our weekend and international teams in the process.
IMDb now includes:
* Over 4.8 million titles with over 650,000 added in 2017
* Nearly 8.8 million names with over 700,000 added in 2017
* Over 93 million filmography credits with over 12 million added in 2017
* Over 6.8 million images, 3.4 million videos and 3.5 million customer reviews
More statistics are available in the press room.
The minimum number of items required to be in the top 250 contributors exceeded 12,000.
... From a contributor perspective by Thomas Porter ...
Another exciting year end, another Star Wars movie to argue about (yes, that is three references for three years in a row but who's counting?) and another trip down memory lane to look back at all the contribution-related changes and improvements. It has been quite a year...
Last year we celebrated processing 90% of contributions within 24 hours from the point of submission. In 2017 we upped this to 95% within 24 hours and took a new goal to make sure none of the remaining 5% waited more than 5 days to be processed. We care deeply about this service level and we've had a lot of positive feedback following our focus to improve it. Don’t forget, earlier this year we launched a new processing times page so you can keep an eye on progress.
We're also proud to have continued to handle 95% of your customer service contacts within 24hrs. Regulars on Get Satisfaction will have noticed all the new staff faces announcing changes and answering questions quickly, and of course we're all familiar with and eternally grateful to our Champions. Special thanks to you all for making the community so invaluable. In an effort to improve our customer service even further we also launched https://help.imdb.com/ - our new help hub centralizing submission guides, FAQs and help content in one handy place.
Speedy service was not the only focus. Speed of data availability has been super-charged over the past few years and 2017 welcomed in one of the final non-rapidly published areas of IMDb; the submission interface. Now, instead of having to wait up to 1-2 days for the submission interface to update following a data change, contributors can submit a subsequent change almost immediately (add episodes to a just-published TV series, for example). Long-time contributor Marco put it neatly: 'Just when I thought processing of contributions couldn't be faster :)'. We also (just) launched suggestion search for Titles and Companies within the new title submission form, which should make it a lot easier and faster to find the right pages.
One large piece of work spread out over the year has been replacing the technology stack known as 'Swiki', previously home to a handful of wiki-style un-vetted data types with submissions limited to a pre-approved whitelist of contributors. In its place we've launched brand new experiences for Characters, Title FAQs, Parents Guides and a new Plot page combining Synopsis with Outlines and Summaries. While we have had to say goodbye to or temporary pause some of the old page features, importantly all contributed data to these data types now benefit from the same contribution experience, vetting process and rapid publish as standard. For many of the same reasons we also rebuilt the old User Review contribution pipeline coinciding with the new Review sub page launch, and changed the supported formats for creating links within contributions.
While the benefits are not always immediately obvious, deprecating this old technology represents significant progress for the future of contribution, enabling us to focus on building bigger and better experiences next year and beyond. Thanks so much for your continued patience and support while we got to this point.
Now we're in this position, there has never been a better time to get involved on Get Satisfaction to provide your feedback and ideas to help shape that future. From contribution feature requests (like this one to have more control over primary title images, which we built and announced here earlier this year) to data policy discussions (like this announcement to our Motion Capture Cast policy) so we keep our guidelines fresh and in line with the ever evolving industry - whatever you want to discuss, we want to hear it.
So, thanks a million again to the Champs, the contributors, the Beta testers and the Get Satisfaction community. I know I speak on behalf of the entire IMDb Content team when I say it's a real pleasure to work alongside you all. See you in 2018!
Manager - IMDb Database Content
... From a customer perspective by Col Needham ...
We remain true to our original vision of gathering and organizing the largest collection of entertainment information and making it available on a wide variety of platforms. Our aim is to be the first thought for all of your entertainment information needs, whether you are a deep fan, a casual consumer, or an entertainment industry professional.
The rhythm of the entertainment industry comes from festivals, awards and the release of new movies and TV shows across the year. There is literally never a dull moment here. Our team brings coverage of these to you as they happen, increasingly with live video. New in 2017 were: our viewing party for The Oscars; an expanded IMDb studio space at The Sundance Film Festival; a bigger presence at San Diego Comic-Con; our interview studio at The Toronto International Film Festival; and our live show at New York Comic-Con. In 2018 you will see more video on IMDb and more of it live with improved playback and device compatibility.
The IMDb STARmeter awards were presented at various events to Peter Dinklage, Stan Lee, Tatiana Maslany, Sverrir Gudnason and Sam Rockwell. The award is based upon actual traffic to IMDb so every page you visit effectively forms part of the vote. Your visits to IMDb also define many of the lists in our Best of 2017 section - thank you there too.
Finally in editorial, special thanks are due to our wonderful and active poll community whose often fun and always inventive polls appear across the IMDb sites and apps throughout the year. For poll fans, we also have a growing number of FanIQ quizzes.
One of the things which makes working at IMDb exciting for me is the way we are always improving the services and features offered to our customers, even beyond the continuous (by the second) growth in the content available. We have the main site, a mobile site, the iOS app, the Android app, the IMDbPro site, the IMDbPro iPhone app, Withoutabox and Box Office Mojo. All of these sit on top of our 250+ million item database. This means we almost never run the same software on two consecutive days (or these days, two consecutive hours). To better manage all of this complexity and to allow us to make even faster progress in future, a big focus during 2017 has been to complete the move to our new technology platform. We announced this on Get Satisfaction and we appreciated your patience while we completed this work.
The technology update does mean some temporary feature losses on the IMDb site in much the same way you would prune a garden to enable future growth. We will work on the highest impact items early in 2018 at speed, since everything is now on the same modern software system. We already simplified, replaced or updated over 200 different features or software systems, including several major ones to achieve this goal. Two of the more visible enhancements which launched late in 2017 are: support for list editing on the Android app; and the addition of all user reviews to our mobile apps instead of the previous tiny subset. This is in addition to the resolution of countless bugs in the old systems plus the implementation of many feature requests gathered in the ideas section of Get Satisfaction over the years.
We are particularly pleased with the progress on our mobile apps in 2017 and you can read release notes or reviews in the iOS and Android stores. We will continue to work on creating simple, fast, and easy features which are as consistent as possible between the various IMDb web sites and apps.
One of our goals is to make advertising units which our customers will love. If you are located in the UK or US, you may have seen our updated enhanced title pages, with Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) being team favourites.
On IMDbPro we have launched a steady stream of features and updates, including: the ability to manage featured images on IMDb/IMDbPro/Amazon Video; an easier resume data management system; streamlined news; improved box office; easier sign-up with Amazon Payments; and the much-requested IMDbPro iPhone app.
Our film festival submissions platform, Withoutabox, welcomed new festivals including Tribeca, The LA Film Festivals and (local to us) The Bristol Encounters Short Film Festival, as well as continuing to represent major festivals such at The Sundance Film Festival, The Toronto International Film Festival and The Edinburgh International Film Festival. We added new search options for filmmakers and improved judging and management tools for festivals are now launching.
Overall it has been a busy year for updates and one which has also seen a record number of new customers registering with IMDb. Thanks to our growing international community, we now have over 200,000 Indian movie, TV, and celebrity pages on IMDb. We have observed strong growth in our user base from India, and are happy to see strong engagement with our trending feature. This helps fans stay up to date on the global movies and TV shows trending in India, as well as the most anticipated Indian movies. We have grown our presence on social media and hopefully many of you are enjoying our regular email program which will become more customized in 2018. We added ticketing options via Atom Tickets in summer, with fun features such as the ability to order drinks and snacks to be ready-made for collection upon arrival at the cinema. IMDb data is becoming more alive via the addition of features such as soundtrack samples too. Finally, after 26 years in operation, we are moving the public IMDb data from FTP to an Amazon S3 and https replacement service.
We are looking forward to a fabulous 2018 and to serving you better as both contributors to and customers of the IMDb data. If you would like to join our team or have friends or contacts with the very particular set of skills we are seeking, please keep an eye on our jobs page where we are regularly recruiting in Bristol or London in the UK and Seattle, Santa Monica or New York City in the US.
Thanks and Feedback
In recognition of your contributions, as usual, we are offering everyone in the Top 250 contributors free access to IMDbPro for all of 2018. [Separate instructions have already been emailed to the Top 250]
Thanks again for all your support during the year. As always, ideas and constructive feedback are welcome via Get Satisfaction.
We wish you a Happy New Year!
IMDb Founder and CEO
on behalf of the whole IMDb Team
[The actual list will be posted in the Contributor Zone Hall of Fame within the next day or so; a copy of this letter, including the list, will also be emailed to every 2017 contributor]