Summary:

Call it a minor pivot. The Berlin- and L.A.-based IMDb rival Moviepilot has decided that the real money lies in turning its masses of user data into cross-platform marketing campaigns for the likes of Universal and Disney.

Tobi Bauckhage, moviepilot CEO

Last time we checked in with Moviepilot, the plucky Berlin startup was heading to Hollywood with stars in its eyes. Part IMDb rival, part rumor platform, the film fan service was freshly armed with a $7m round and about to open an office in Los Angeles.

In the intervening time, it opened that office and stacked it with a couple people from IMDb itself (U.S. advertising director Amy Smith and advisor John Gibbons). And then it noticed an opportunity – the studios were particularly keen on all the data that Moviepilot was gaining from its users, and the way in which that information can be used to plan movie advertising campaigns.

That’s why Moviepilot has just launched a social media agency unit. It appears that this is going to be the big money-spinner that keeps ads out of the core service.

“When I came here three months ago and built the team over here while talking to the studios, it was clear there were hundreds of small agencies doing Facebook fan acquisition, but not specifically for the studios, and that seems to be the standard in this industry,” Moviepilot CEO Tobi Bauckhage told me. “That’s not what the power of social media is – it’s much more about engagement.

“What we also saw is there’s normally nobody who takes the insights from a social media campaign on Facebook and takes it to the next campaign, for example on YouTube. We see an opportunity to do agency business in a more holistic sort of way.”

There’s a lot of data to draw on. Moviepilot has a film and TV fan community of more than 10 million people, spread across its 15 themed Facebook pages. This broad source has already been used in campaigns for the likes of Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Disney, so this is hardly a new business for Moviepilot.

However, what is new is the focus that the crew is putting on the marketing business.

“It’s a weird combination, what we’re offering,” Bauckhage said. “We have a B2C offering, and that’s still what we’re doing and where a lot of our investment goes. The question is how to monetize that, so we took a little pivot and said, maybe don’t go the traditional route of IMDb where you monetize your own traffic. Maybe keep it clean and real and true to the fans, and use the data people are willing to give us and aggregate it as randomised data, and concentrate on how powerful this could be.”

Expect movie ad campaigns to get a bit more integrated across Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. It seems Moviepilot’s handy side-business is about to get a lot more focus.

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