Implementation of new genres

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Back in July 2010, there was a discussion about new genres to be added to IMDb. After a discussion, eventually the following five genres were approved by the IMDb staff:

Soap Opera
Awards Show

In December 2010 and January 2011, contributors discussed definitions for each of the five new genres, which were in turn approved by the staff. (Awards Show) (Erotica) (Experimental) (Lifestyle) (Soap Opera)

On January 31, 2011, then-staffer jaimie-k wrote that he was working hard to make the implementation of the genres happen as fast as possible.

However, it has been almost three years since then, and none of the new genres have been implemented yet.

We haven't even gotten an explanation for the delay since May 2012, when we were told, "It is difficult to add new genres because it requires coordination across multiple sites, multiple mobile applications on multiple platforms and multiple languages."

But that explanation doesn't sound right, because regardless of what application we use to view IMDb data, the underlying data is still stored the same way. The IMDb App for iPhone or Android or Windows Phone needs to know where to display the genre for a film -- but the app shouldn't need to be reprogrammed just because there are more genres that can be selected from. We're not talking about adding a new field of data -- we're just talking about adding new values to an existing field of data.

Or to put it another way, the Country of Origin field is another field where there are a finite number of choices that can be selected from. Suppose that Scotland or Catalonia or Flanders or Quebec became independent and started producing films and television shows. It wouldn't take years to add those new countries to the Country of Origin field. It would be done pretty quickly after the first new title was submitted with an "Explanation for missing information" identifying the film's Country of Origin as not being listed in the drop-down box.

In short, on a programming difficulty scale, where creating a program that prints "Hello, world!" is a 1, and getting (the "Obamacare" website) to operate properly is a 10, implementing the new genres should be no more than a 3. The IMDb programmers have done some much more complex programming than that in the last three and a half years. Please have them go ahead and implement the new genres without further delay.
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gromit82, Champion

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Posted 5 years ago

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Michelle, Official Rep

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Hi gromit82 -

I'm not certain myself about this, however, I have reached out to our data staff for additional information and clarification.  Once I hear back I will post the information here.
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gromit82, Champion

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Michelle: Thanks for looking into this.
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Tom, Official Rep

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Hi Gromit, apologies you’ve had to wait so long for a reply on this. I know a lot of hard work went into planning these new genres, so I’d also like to apologize that promises to implement them made by previous data editors have not been kept. Those promises really shouldn’t have been made because creating new genres is not as straightforward as it may have been made out to be.

Adding new genres to the database itself is reasonably straight forward, but as you’ve already pointed out, there are multiple downstream platforms that will need to be updated in order to support them - the main www. site, Pro, and mobile (, Android, iOS and Kindle). There are also other considerations like ratings and search, plus legacy systems including the ftp site and older sections of IMDb that have not yet been migrated to the rapid publish platform.

That said, of course we want to add new genres. We’d also like to add new title types, but they are equally hard to implement for similar reasons. The real win would be to invest in work that meant all platforms were built from the same master. That would enable updates to be consistent, and less prone to causing unforeseen problems down the line.

But back to genres specifically - like every feature request they have to be scheduled. We try and prioritize them based on what we know contributors and users want the most. I have moved your get satisfaction thread  (  to the content ‘Ideas’ section[settings][sort_o... – that we use to help shape our development roadmap (we’ve just launched alphabetical keyword sorting, for example

So again, I’m sorry we haven’t been able to do this work yet. I hope the above information goes most of the way to explaining why.

Many thanks,

Team Manager – Database Content
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I think experimental is the more needed. I have seen some shorts that cannot qualify as anything else.
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gromit82, Champion

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Unfortunately, many of the links in my original post in this thread have expired. Fortunately, not all of them have, and also fortunately, the genre definition discussions were saved in threads that have not expired.

Awards Show:
The staff approved the following definition:
"Predominantly, but not exclusively, TV shows whose primary focus is on announcing and/or presenting awards for work that occurred before the show and that happened independent of the existence of that show. Non-fiction, generally live or taped live with minimal editing."

The staff-selected definition is missing, but the following two definitions were proposed:
"Should have a major portion of its running time emphasizing depictions of nudity, simulated sexual activity, or scenes otherwise designed to stimulate sexual arousal. This cannot co-exist with the Adult genre except in cases where the title has a hardcore alternate version. Subjective."
"A non-hardcore title with a significant portion of its running time emphasizing depictions of nudity, simulated sexual activity, or scenes otherwise designed to stimulate sexual arousal . Must be used with the plot keywords 'softcore' and 'sex.' Cannot co-exist with the Adult genre except in cases where there is a hardcore alternate version, and should not be confused with the plot keyword 'exotica.' Subjective."

The staff-selected definition is missing, but the contributors' consensus was in favor of the following:
"A title that explores the possibilities of film and video as art by "experimenting" with non-mainstream form and content. It often discards conventional techniques in favor of a non-linear, non-narrative structure; utilizes abstract, non-representational imagery and photographic techniques as opposed to the generally accepted production practices; and explores content from an unexpected, non-traditional, alternative point-of-view. Almost always an independent or low-budget film or video, it includes, but is not limited to, those titles also categorized as an underground-film or as avant-garde. Subjective."

The staff-selected definition is missing, but the contributors' consensus was in favor of the following:
"Applies predominately to non-fiction titles which are primarily focused on describing and/or demonstrating life skills, hobbies and leisure activities. Examples of topics covered include: cooking, fashion, home decoration/improvement, travel, health/beauty, antiques, auctions, wedding and party planning, consumer awareness, parenting, and other topics along these lines."

Soap Opera:
The staff approved the following definition:
"Soap Operas are serial melodramas that run more than once a week. Exceptions will be made for certain weekly, prime-time shows, but only if they are similar to the typical serial in style and content. TV series only."

I'm not expecting anything to get done regarding the new genres immediately, but I just wanted to make sure that the definitions and links to the extant discussions are saved here on Get Satisfaction.
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gromit82, Champion

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Since it has been two years since I started this thread, and over a year since we received an update from the staff, I'm going to raise this issue again.

While Tom raised some issues as to why implementing the new genres may be more difficult than I thought, the new genres have not been implemented more than five years after they were announced. Five years is quite a while in Internet time. 

My guess would be that perhaps (a) nobody is currently assigned to implement the new genres, or (b) somebody has been assigned to this project, but it has been made a low priority for them and other projects have supplanted it on their agendas.

I would also support implementing additional genres beyond the five initially approved, but for those I would support seeking community consensus by way of a poll before any more new genres are approved.

Also, thanks to Pencho, Tom, and Aa for their support.
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gromit82, Champion

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I think it's time for me to raise this subject again. The reason I chose today to call for the implementation of new genres is that July 25, 2010 was the day that then-staffer jaimie-k announced that five new genres had been approved:

And now six years have gone by, and the new genres are still not implemented.

Six years is quite a while in which to get things done. A United States President only gets  a 4-year term. A British Parliament or a European Parliament only gets a 5-year term. World War II ended six years and one day after it began (at least according to Wikipedia).

Even if adding new genres is as difficult as Tom said it is (back in October 2014), I suspect that it hasn't been accomplished primarily because nobody is assigned to work on it. And I have to say that I'm disappointed by the lack of progress here.
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As we have now passed the seven-year mark since the new genres were announced, I am going to make my annual request that the IMDb staff implement the new genres.

I am also going to reiterate Marco's question above. The staff may have no idea when the new genres will actually be implemented, but it should be known whether or not anyone is actually working on implementing them. So is anyone actually working on implementing the new genres? If not, is anyone assigned to work on implementing the new genres?
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Once again, it's time for my annual re-visitation of this issue. It has now been eight years since the IMDb staff announced that the five new genres have been approved. Yet, to this day, those genres have never been implemented.

Eight years is a decent amount of time in which to accomplish a project. A U.S. president is only allowed eight years in office even if re-elected. The Beatles managed to sign their first recording contract, then have their entire career, and break up, all within the space of eight years. Eight years is nearly twice as long as World War I, and longer than World War II. 

I suspect that the problems are that (a) nobody at IMDb has been working on implementing the new genres, and (b) nobody at IMDb is even assigned to work on implementing the new genres. Hopefully this will change soon.

Thanks to ljdoncel, Kristin, Sann, and Marco for their support, in addition to the other people whom I have thanked before in this thread over the years.
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Thanks for this post Gromit.

For a database of films and tv shows, genres are part of the core data (just like country, language, year of release, director, main actors, color/b&w, running time, etc.). Year after year, it continues to amaze me that IMDb doesn't give this much more priority.
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July 29 2018
Advanced Title Search


[_] Action     [_] Adventure [_] Animation       [_] Biography

[_] Comedy  [_] Crime       [_] Documentary  [_] Drama

[_] Family    [_] Fantasy     [_] Film-Noir        [_] Game-Show

[_] History   [_] Horror        [_] Music             [_] Musical

[_] Mystery [_] News          [_] Reality-TV     [_] Romance

[_] Sci-Fi     [_] Sport         [_] Talk-Show      [_] Thriller

[_] War       [_] Western

- - -

Genre Definitions

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October 8, 2018

IMDb Statistics

Title Genres
• Drama........... 1,330,188
• Comedy........ 1,145,459
• Short................ 770,198
• Documentary... 529,741
• Talk_show...... 509,938
• Family............ 406,228
• News.............. 377,795
• Animation....... 274,750
• Reality_tv....... 258,115
• Music............. 250,383
• Crime............. 238,295
• Action............ 219,170
• Adventure..... 184,283
• Game_show.. 183,602
• Thriller........... 168,697
• Fantasy.......... 154,471
• Adult.............. 153,743
• Mystery......... 148,355
• Sci_fi............. 136,252
• Sport............. 119,347
• Horror........... 106,104
• History............ 78,323
• Biography....... 62,817
• Musical.......... 54,242
• War................ 33,423
• Western......... 31,274
• Film_noir............. 811


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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I've been trying to fill in missing data and genres for films from my country, and I so find that the options for genre are rather limited. I live in Turkey and believe it or not, many, I mean really many erotic films have been made during a 10-year period between the 70s and 80s, with many A-class actors and actresses being forced to perform (mostly non-erotic) roles in them. These films are quite a lot in number, but I cannot fill in their genres as adult, it applies only to hardcore pornography.

Likewise, I also suggested the imdb staff to add erotic films as a genre. You cannot say these are adult films, they are not. But what else can you possibly call a film that's full of nudity all along? Romance? Drama? Erotic films, or erotica as it's called to give it a more "I'm not here for the boobies, I'm here for the articles" kind of feel, are a genre which has existed for decades and is unique. It is a warning, for instance, that it's not meant for minors. Calling an erotic movie "romance" or "fantasy" removes that notion.

Like you, I was suggested to come here and open the idea up for discussion, to see if it will have support. But now I see that the matter aleady was opened to discussion, with all my points made years before me, but it's not implemented, "because it's difficult." This is kind of sad, since I consider it important: genres are very basic information about movies, yet it remains a missing option. We live in an age when we can see what movie celebrity eats what for breakfast, but critical information about the movies themselves remains sketchy.

Come to think of it, another genre that is a must in my opinion is martial arts movies.
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These films are quite a lot in number, but I cannot fill in their genres as adult, it applies only to hardcore pornography.

In those cases, you shouldn't add a genre. As you say, none of the current genres IMDb has to offer fit them, so they shouldn't have any. You shouldn't add a wrong genre just because IMDb doesn't have the right one.