How IMDb Makes Money - IMDbPro, IMDb TV and API

IMDb is a trusted destination for movie information and owned by Amazon.

Ever wonder how IMDb makes money? IMDb makes money through 1) IMDbPro from entertainment professional who subscribed, 2) advertisements from IMDb TV and Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP) and 3) API access from developers. 

IMDbPro

IMDbPro is the most prominent way that IMDb makes money.

As of 10 Dec 2020, the price plans for IMDbPro are:-

  • Monthly plan: $19.99/month; 
  • Annual plan: $149.99/year (saves around 5 months from monthly plans); or
  • Group plan: $79.95/month for up to 5 members (saves around 3 months from monthly plans).

From the price plans, it seem like signing up 5 annual plans is more logical than the group plan. That's said, it require a yearly commitment which might be difficult for a group or company.

IMDbPro is like a LinkedIn for entertainment professionals to connect, find jobs or explore trends.

It provides entertainment professionals

  • A way to connect with over 300,000 professionals and companies
  • Showcase their photos, videos and credits
  • Access casting notices 
  • Explore industry trends from historical box offices

Advertisements From IMDb TV

Amazon asked for publishers to give the e-commerce giant full control over ad sales for publishers' linear channels on IMDb TV, according to multiple industry executives with knowledge of the matter based on digiday.com

Amazon provides publishers with 55% of the net revenue from the ad inventory that Amazon sells. In addition to the 45% cut of net ad revenue that Amazon would receive, Amazon would receive a 15% cut of channels' gross ad revenue and would take that cut before calculating the net revenue split, according to two industry execs. Publishers had mixed opinions about Amazon's cut of channels' gross revenue.

  • One media exec said that tax “seems crazy”. The revenue-sharing arrangement would prevent publishers from being able to include their IMDb TV inventory in larger packages with advertisers, which publishers believe would limit the size of the profits they could collect from their IMDb TV channels.
  • Another said the fee is not unusual. For comparison, when a publisher relies on Roku to sell 100% of the impressions in the publishers' Roku app, Roku takes a 15% cut of gross revenue to cover its operational and serving costs and then can take 40% of the remaining net revenue, unless the platform and publisher have agreed for Roku to pay the publisher a fixed CPM for ads sold by Roku.
  • According to a document on Roku's site for developers, Amazon is requiring that publishers use an Amazon-approved tech provider, such as Xumo, to power their linear channels, and these tech providers would receive a portion of publishers' split of the net ad revenue, according to two industry execs. “It starts to sting,” said one media exec. 

IMDb Developer Access 

A lesser known way that IMDb make money is through developer that needs lots of data from IMDb. 

It only costs at most $10/month for the most extreme and is unlikely to be a big revenue source. Nevertheless, based on the developer docs, it seems updated frequently (maybe due to Amazon style of ensuring everything is accessible to other teams via API).

The IMDb developer API rates are not readily available in the website but I managed to find the API rates through another API website:-

As it is hard to see the visualize the exact cost, I created a table to show the different rates based on the requests used per month. It is definitely looks like people should 

  • Use Basic plan for testing or up to 1,000 requests;
  • Use Pro/Ultra if you are confirmed using at least 1,000 requests and at most 100,000 or 250,000 requests respectively; and
  • Use Mega when you are not sure if you will exceed 100,000 or 250,000 as it is safer and much cheaper.
Requests/Month Basic Pro Ultra Mega
1,000 $0 $1 $5 $10
5,000 $40 $1 $5 $10
10,000 $90 $1 $5 $10
100,000 $990 $1 $5 $10
250,000 $2,490 $751 $5 $10
1,000,000 $9,990 $4,501 $755 $10

IMDb probably make the most money from IMDbPro from entertainment professional who subscribed and advertisements in IMDb TV and Amazon Demand-Side Platform (DSP). The API access from developers probably is not contributing much given the data is readily available for even scrapers without using API.


Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form

Sky Hoon
Website Builder. He has a Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and loved to use technology to solve the world's issue, one at a time. For now, trying to blog for a living.
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