Letterboxd owners sold a majority stake in their social film discussion and discovery platform to Tiny for a whopping $US50 million, the company announced on Friday. Tiny, a Canadian technology investment and holding company, acquired a 60% stake in the platform, but the owners noted in a press release that they’ll continue to be Letterboxd shareholders.
Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow announced the sale in the press release and assured users that they shouldn’t expect any major changes to the platform. “Aside from the ownership change, and in line with Tiny’s core operating values, very little else will change,” Buchanan and von Randow said in the release.
“Karl and I are still leading the team, which remains the same, but now has the additional support of a company with vast experience in helping founders through periods of growth, which Letterboxd continues to enjoy. It means we can bring you more of the features you love and deserve at a sustainable pace,” they added.
The pair founded Letterboxd in 2011, but it didn’t fully take off until 2020 when the app’s popularity quickly grew as the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The platform reportedly had more than 4.1 million users by the end of 2021, an increase from its 1.8 million users in March 2020, The New York Times reported. As of the $US50 million sale, Letterboxd has more than 10 million registered accounts, with roughly half of them active within the last 90 days.
The platform has risen in popularity for film lovers and filmmakers alike, giving them a place to discuss movies including reviewing and recommending films and sharing their favourite movies and/or performances. Letterboxd has also developed its own digital magazine and podcast, and earlier this year, Netflix announced it partnered with the platform to bring its video recommendations to users.
In contrast with IMDb, Letterboxd offers a clean, uncluttered interface and thus far has tended to attract a more discerning userbase of cinephiles. Time will tell if the post-acquisition bloat that plagues the modern-day IMDb will come for Letterboxd as well.
Netflix commended Letterboxd for its success in a January press release, saying: “The site is a thriving film community, where millions of moviegoers rate, review, list, and otherwise obsessively unearth more about their favourite films.”
Buchanan and von Randow also said in their press release that they plan to expand their platform to add on TV series with the caveat that it will be introduced “only once we know we can do it right.”
Speaking about the acquisition, Tiny co-founder Andrew Wilkinson told Variety, “We’ve been huge fans and users of Letterboxd for a long time and could not be more excited to join forces with Matt, Karl, and the rest of the team for the long term. Our aim is to make Letterboxd the ultimate destination for anyone looking to discover or discuss movies online… and we believe the untapped market potential for superior discovery and discussion is a huge opportunity.”
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