“In the simplest terms, Letterboxd lets you share your taste in film, and get inspiration from others. But you can also use it as a simple diary to record your opinion about films as you watch them, and keep track of movies you’ve seen some time in the past. It lets you rate, review and tag films as you add them to your repository.”
While it officially moved out of private beta last year, it has remained invitation-only since then (if that makes sense). But as of today, the iron curtain has been drawn open and anyone can now sign up.
Letterboxd is headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand and was founded by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow. It initially launched at Brooklyn Beta, a small but influential New York Web conference, in October 2011.
All film-related metadata — including actor, director and studio affiliations, plot synopses, release dates, trailers and poster art — is sourced from The Movie Database (TMDb), a crowdsourced film database.
The story so far…
Letterboxd reached the milestone of one million films logged on February 16, 2012 and has garnered some 40,000 members through the prolonged public beta phase. Said members contributed more than 400,000 reviews, compiled 44,000 lists and added around 8 million films to their online profiles.
And throughout its stealth phase, Letterboxd has been refining the service as a result of a tonne of user-submissions, and added a slew of new features including the ability to import historic film data from IMDb, Delicious Library and Netflix, as well as filtering your watchlist by Netflix availability.
However, Letterboxd has taken steps to monetize the service, by introducing a 3-tiered offering – Free, Pro and Patron.
The free service gets you unlimited films, diary entries, reviews, ratings and lists. And at launch, each List on this tier was limited to twenty films, while Watchlists were also restricted to twenty – however, they seemingly backtracked on that limitation shortly after launch:
After hearing your feedback we’ve decided to remove the limits on lists and Watchlists. If you’ve gone Pro and you’re unhappy please email.
— Letterboxd (@letterboxd) February 8, 2013
The Lists feature lets you create things like ‘Best UK Films’ ever, or ‘Best Horror Films’ ever, while Watchlists are where you store movies you want to, well, watch.
The Pro service will set you back $19/year (via PayPal), giving you Netflix filtering and queue integration, as well as the ability to import from IMDb or a CSV file and a personalized year-in-review.
So..what more can the Patron package possibly offer you, for $49/year? Well, not all that much, if truth be told – everything in Pro, “plus the undying gratitude of everyone at Letterboxd HQ,” though you do get your name on a dedicated Patron page and you’re promised the occasional treat.
Though some of the formerly-free features are now part of the Pro package, if you have already been using the service thus far, you’ll be able to keep your existing Netflix integration.
Other changes for today’s launch include the ability to display your Diary for a set period of time, meaning you can filter by month, day or week. You can also now filter your Diary or Ratings page by individual star rating.
While Letterboxd did respond to requests to be mobile-friendly with the launch of a semi-responsive mobile site last October, it would still be nice to see some native mobile apps come to market, and judging by the meticulous way the good folks at Letterboxd have gone about developing the service thus far, taking feedback on board along the way from its users, it’s probably safe to assume that this will happen at some point.
Letterboxd is available to everyone globally now.
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
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