Letterboxd – A Pinch of Side Project, Social Content on Movies and Pandemic-Fueled Growth

January 21, 2021

Can’t go to the movies, but still want to talk about ‘em, it seems.  The pandemic can’t take away our collective passion for the movies, even though we can’t physically go to one.

Well, a company that started out as a side project and has been around for a while has its finger on the pulse for our passions and is delivering good vibes, per an article in the New York Times on the company.

Letterboxd is the ‘Goodreads for movies’
Two web developers, Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow,  from New Zealand created the company as a social movie review site and introduced it at the Brooklyn Beta web conference in 2011.  Letterboxd lets film fans track their movie-watching, create lists of favorites, and write and publish reviews. 

Explosive growth in 2020.  According to the company, Letterboxd’s user base has almost doubled since the beginning of the pandemic – it now has more than 3 million users, up from 1.7 million in January 2020. 

Side project to full time gig
Thanks to this growth, the one-time side project has gone prime time, with several full-time staff recently hired.  Revenues have also increased from advertising and premium users who get added features., which give users added features.

  • Gemma Gracewood, Letterboxd’s editor-in-chief: “We love talking about movies.  And we’re talking even more about what we love lately because we’re all stuck indoors.”

Film buffs and cinephiles to the TikTok and SnapChat crowd
The platform started out with hard core movie buffs and cinephiles using it.  But now, 75% of the users access the platform on the company’s app, and the largest group using the app is the 18- to 24-year-olds demographic.

That’s propelled the company to a new level with a big runway for growth.

  • Founder Matthew Buchanan said “there are tens of millions of Netflix users, for instance. We know we’re not going to appeal to every single Netflix user, but we also know that the appetite for film content is growing.”

And people’s love for movies is not going away.  Film culture has always been in part a shared experience.  Letterboxd is tapping into that desire and bringing it online as movie theaters remain closed.

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