IMDB has been the g0-to site for movie buffs for a long time, before Rotten Tomatoes and before the latest deluge of movie sites. When Amazon bought IMDB in 1998 it seemed like a good fit, but I wondered what would happen to the site. Well, for the past four years it was more or less business as usual. Pretty good iPad app. OK for mobile. Some layout and UI improvements. But more or less the same IMDB. That’s fine.
Now there’s something different that might signal a really interesting future for the site. X-Ray for Movies links the IMDB database with movies on Amazon’s Kindle Fire in a much more interactive and dynamic way. Just touch the screen on your Fire to find out who is in that scene, plus background and biographical information and more. Very cool.
As it stands, the feature is not a game-changer. And it is only available on a limited number of films. And only on the Kindle. But this is the kind of thing we’ve all been waiting for in movies but hasn’t been quite easy enough to access. And once Amazon has a toe fully dipped in these waters, the possibility for more information quickly emerges. How long before you can order products in the scene directly from Amazon with one click?
While I’m on the subject–I think it would be a great idea for IMDB to provide marketplace access data for all movies. That is, for each movie let me know how it is available, including theaters, Netflix, Blockbuster, Red Box, Hulu, etc., even the cable companies. Plus Amazon, of course. In fact, let me check the box on what “channels” are relevant to me and go to a page that only shows those. (For me that’s Amazon Instant Videos, Netflix Streaming, Red Box and Comcast On Demand.) Make it easy for me to get notified when a movie I want to see is available specifically for me. It would also be a killer mobile app.
Of course one could worry that Amazon would actually be advertising its competitors. Well, yep it would. So what? Compared to other movie options Amazon is sure to be pretty competitive in availability by virtue of selling DVD’s and its vast streaming library. At the same time, often there are better consumer options for movies. Still, I’d easily give a little plug to the competition for the ability to cement my role as THE movie site. Plus, Amazon’s commitment to the consumer is legendary. Why let the fear of competition stand in the way of such a heroic consumer effort? Besides, if they don’t do it, somebody else will.