Col Needham. Photo: Irene Cho
It's hard to think of a movie website more essential than IMDb.com. Over twenty years old now, the site (and its apps) remain an essential source for movie fans and professionals alike. Its founder, Col Needham, is a self-proclaimed movie geek who started compiling, in the 80s, a database of movie credits for the film's he watched. He launched IMDb in 1990.
Needham's now seen more than 8,000 movies—he keeps a list—and remains a diehard moviegoer who can be found on the ground at festivals around the world. He worked for HP before the Internet Movie Database took off. It was so successful that eventually he had to quit his day job to work for the company full time.
Last week, we caught up for a conversation at the Marriott hotel in Cannes.
“I live and breathe film,” Col Needham said last week during the interview with FilmLinc Daily Buzz. “Our aim with IMDb is to be wherever people engage in film, television, and celebrity content.”
The company, now owned by Amazon, is anchored in the Pacific Northwest, but Needham remains at the helm from his office in the U.K. Lately, he's excited about X-Ray for Movies, a new app for Kindle and Wii that let's users tap on an actor while watching a movie to get real time bio info from the IMDb server. He's also watching the way users are moving to mobile devices to use his products.
“We have 160 million users access IMDB every single month,” he said, “and it’s at the point now where 50% of our page views are on mobile devices. So… literally, you can come out of a screening here [and] people will be voting and those votes are being tallied in real time to your app.”