“Essentially, everyone was agreeing to publish film information in a format that was compatible with my software,” Needham explains in his broad Mancunian accent.
“Although I was running it, there was nothing formal. It was like an open democracy of film fans.”
By the summer of 1990, this democracy had collated 10,000 movie titles.
Today, it’s hard to understand why this was so exciting. Back then, though, this much information on movies had never been collected in one place outside of an unwieldy movie encyclopaedia.
Yet unlike Halliwell’s or Leonard Maltin’s Movie And Video Guide – which were always out of date and limited by space – IMDb was a film fan’s dream come true: a constantly updated, instantly searchable, ever-growing movie mecca.
The internet as we know it arrived somewhere around the summer of 1993. With a new-fangled web browser, computer users could... watch weather satellite images!
“That was the coolest thing on the web back then," laughs Needham. "‘Wow! There’s a fog bank on the Golden Gate Bridge two hours ago!’”