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Col Needham created IMDb

Col Needham is the founder and CEO of Internet Movie Database, the leading online source of information about movies, TV shows and celebrities.

January 19, 2013|By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times

IMDb grows up: Amazon's acquisition afforded the resources to redesign the IMDb site and update the information daily instead of weekly. It began diversifying its offerings in 2002, with the introduction of the IMDbPro subscription service for entertainment industry professionals. It developed more extensive information about television programs in 2006, providing details about individual episodes. This fueled a period of explosive growth for the site. IMDb made a pair of purchases in 2008 to augment its offerings, acquiring online box office reporting service BoxOfficeMojo and a site that streamlines the film festival submission process, Withoutabox.

Going mobile: IMDb made the leap to smartphones in 2009 and has been downloaded more than 50 million times. Mobile users make an average of 175 million visits every month. "We can see our U.S. usage very much mirrors the peak [TV viewing] time," Needham said. "So clearly people are accessing IMDb while they're watching TV shows, while they're watching movies."

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet boasts X-Ray for Movies, a feature powered by IMDb that allows users to retrieve casting information and other details with the touch of the screen. A new version of the IMDb app for Apple Inc.'s iPad focuses on discovery and recommendations. "People suffer from overwhelming choice," Needham said. "Having IMDb there with our rich database ... combined with your own personal watch list data, we can come up with a list of things that you should see next."

All-time favorite movie? Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." "It's been my favorite movie since I first saw it in November 1989.... It changed the way I view movies. Alfred Hitchcock played me like a piano."

Favorite movies of 2012? Top of the list is Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller "Prometheus," the indie critical fave "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and the French drama "Rust and Bone."

A credit of his own: Col Needham is listed in IMDb, for his appearance in a 2001 television documentary "Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature."

Getting personal: Needham and his wife, Karen, have twin daughters. His main hobby is watching movies, although he describes himself as an avid swimmer, "which is quite ironic given my experience of seeing 'Jaws.'"

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