The Big Picture
- Letterboxd is expanding its focus to include TV, catering to both film and television enthusiasts.
- The founders of Letterboxd sold a controlling stake to Tiny, a Canadian investment firm, to help with the company’s growth.
- Letterboxd plans to introduce TV without disrupting the experience of its current users and understands that TV offers new levels for members to react and engage with the content.
Catering to both the avid film connoisseurs and the laid-back movie enthusiasts, Letterboxd stands out as a guiding light and a central hub for all things film-related — that is, until now, as the platform announced TV will be added later this year. Letterboxd serves as a meeting ground, enabling users to forge connections with fellow cinephiles worldwide. It’s an expansive realm of intricate reviews and evaluations for film critics and fans alike, as they unite in the platform with their dynamic opinions and perspectives on various films around the globe. And perhaps this will still hold true for TV.
The announcement that TV will become a new focus for the company comes after news that Letterboxd founders Matt Buchanan and Karl von Randow made the decision to sell significant shares of the company in October 2023. Per Variety, Buchanan and Randow opted to sell a controlling stake to Tiny, a Canadian investment firm. They picked this smaller firm strategically, as they didn’t want to feel “like we’ve been slurped into something massive,” instead, the founders believe that Tiny’s “approach is to get involved when [we] need help.”
As part of the 2024 changes for Letterboxd, the company will focus on television series, and how they can expand on that market. According to Buchanan, this is something that’s been in the works for some time, sharing that TV has “been on the cards for several years… We have been prototyping that.”
What Does This Mean for Letterboxd?
For now, it’s business as usual, as the new TV initiative isn’t set to launch until later this year. However, what remains to be seen is if is television will have its own separate website (and / or app) within the product, or if it will be included in the full package. There’s been some pushback from longtime Letterboxd fans that adding TV will fundamentally change what the platform is about, but Buchanan believes that couldn’t be further from the truth, stating: “The main pushback around the idea of adding TV is that our community is perhaps scared that the film-logging may be overrun by people binge-watching ‘Friends.’ ” However, he argues that the priority in doing this is to “introduce [TV] without disrupting the experience of people already using it.” He understands that, because TV has multiple seasons and episodes, it differs from the movie experience. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Bunchana knows that “our members want to react on every level,” and with TV’s multiple levels, this is a plus.
As Letterboxd was a passion project of Bunchana and Randow back when they founded the company in 2011, they want to take care to handle the changes appropriately. With all the success Letterboxd has enjoyed, the founders knew that they needed “some mentorship to take us to the next level” but wanted “to stay independent from the industry.” That’s what makes Tiny the perfect fit, as they’re more like partners with Letterboxd as it allows the company to still exist in its niche space.
Check out the announcement below: