All good things come to an end

6 June 2024

It is with mixed emotions that I say good-bye.

What started back in 1997, as an attempt to create work for a friend, grew into the biggest movie site in South Africa, and for many years put food on the table.

I invented the "review aggregation" process, made famous later by Rotten Tomatoes and MetaCritic.

It was a privilege to be one of those who, in my own small way, helped build the early World Wide Web into the global resource that it is today.

I have been part of some on the high points of cinema history, like Titanic and Avatar, and the low points, like watching the demise of the drive-ins and video rental industry.

Now, the cinema industry, as well as other parts of the media mix that have been with us for decades and longer, are going through change. How people consume media has changed, and cinemas have not escaped.

Coupled with that, search engines no longer send visitors, but instead provide searchers with the info they seek, taken from sites like mine. This process will accelerate with the trend towards the so-called Artificial Intelligence powered search engines.

At the end of the day, The Moviesite had to be worthwhile for me to run. Income peaked in 2013, and has been declining ever since, not even taking inflation into account.

I have now reached the point where the amount of time needed to build the movie pages, process the showtimes, and write the mailer (including reading an endless supply of terrible jokes to find a few usable), no longer makes financial sense. Also, the cinema cycle is relentless, it has to be done weekly, even when you go on honeymoon or holiday ... wife was not impressed :-)

So it is time to call it quits.

In the early days, I was often up till the early hours of Friday morning, working on the site. In more recent years, I would look at the sign on my wall, "This too shall pass," and wonder when exactly that would be.

That day is now here.

I am grateful to all those who found the site useful over the years. Your support is much appreciated.

Also, to all those at the film distributors and cinema chains, without whom none of it would have been possible, a very big thank you. I have been working with some of you since last century.

So fare thee well, and all the best. :-)


Thanks to the following people for their kind words

... using intials as privacy protection.
Good day Ian!

I will miss you jokes on a Friday and the Prizes we could win 15/16 years ago!!

All the best to you and your family!!
JB Yes it is sad but I do understand the business to appreciate what you have done and why you are shutting it down Thanks for your 100% support and commitment to the film industry.
JvG Thank you for your efforts all these years. And may God bless you in whatever you do next.
AA Sad day. Good luck with new ventures.
PV Thank you for all your efforts over the years; I have enjoyed the updates and will miss the jokes!
DO Rather sad but farewell and all the best for your future adventures. You have certainly made a massive impact in our industry, and for that we are internally grateful. We are honoured that you have been part of our team and giving our content that extra boost and awareness to the public over the years. Farewell and good luck😊
DP It is indeed sad to hear this. I used to look forward the Friday email and jokes. It was a small thing but amounts to a lot. Take care. Have a wonderful time ahead.
RF Well done Ian, and good luck for the future.
PM Best read site ever.
GK It is a sad time to say goodbye! Thank you for all your insightful posts, for keeping the movies alive and well and for posting all the regular Friday updates. I wish you well when engaging in your new chapter!
RS Thanks for the entertainment. I hope you will be well.
SCB What a pity. You will be missed.
MDH Thank you for your effort, time and sacrifice. May your future grow, both family and business. One of the few emails I always looked forward to receive.
RC Sad to read your email, it's been a wonderful ride! It has always been a pleasure working with you, I think the downward spiral of cinema has arrived and I foresee many cinemas closing in the near future. Thanks and all the best to you.
PH So sorry to see you go!
TdW I am really going to miss the news, reviews and jokes each week. Good luck with everything for the future.
GM I want to express my gratitude for the work that you have been doing. You have made life fun and made looking for movies a breeze for me over the years. Despite having all sorts of apps that provide similar info I always preferred your site for its simplicity, familiarity and maybe also because I grew up using it. I have always looked forward to Fridays to read your e-mails. I'm a dad of two now and boy have you armed me for years with bangers of dad jokes. Every time I learned a new joke I got excited because I'd get to show off to my boy. Oh, and I still have the Death race shirt that I won from you back when I was still in varsity :) It's sad to witness the end for this awesome and valuable site, but even with that, thank you.
MS This site has provided me with up- to- date info regarding movies for MANY years. Thank you for your time and effort needed to provide this service. I appreciate it greatly. Sterkte with your future endeavours.
Hi Ian, I just saw you stopped the site recently, pretty tragic sorry to hear. I was a bit surprised to hear to be honest, I didnt think the site was that expensive to maintain, I just used it for 'now showing' listings for my local cinemas. I guess good things do come to an end after all :/ Thank you for keeping it going as long as you did, and best wishes for your future endeavors.
DL I just saw your 6 June post about closing down. I just wanted to say thank you for all the hard work you put into keeping it alive for so long. I really found it useful over the years.
L&H So sorry to hear of the closure of the Moviesite. Even the cinemas have been extremely quiet. It was good working with you. Hope all goes well for your future.
PJ Thank you for all your work over the years. It is much appreciated. I and many others have really benefited from it. The moviesite page was always my go-to page for local movie screening information. It has been clear and straightforward to read, unlike many other pages. All the best for your future projects.
DB Saw your your 6 June post today... A sad day indeed. Nothing remains of the "old" internet now. Just wanted to take the time to thank you for the service you provided! Always found the site simple and to the point. No irritating pop-ups and the like. Sorry to see you go. But alas, I also visit the cinema only a handful of times in a year now, prices and quality of movies is a big turn-off. Go well!
NM Sorry to see your site shutdown, was the best and easiest site for checking movie times! Thanks and good luck😉
HDB Nooooo, please don't close the website? This has been my goto website for looking for movies for years now.
SM I just read the sad news that moviesite is coming to an end. I think I must have been one of your longest subscribers - probably from about 1998/9 (although via different email addresses as employers changed, etc.). I remember when you used to have a competition to predict the Top 5 movies to win some movie swag. My wife and I were big fans of the drive-in (at Kirstenhof - forget the name of the actual drive-in when I was a kid) and Velskoen in Joburg after moving up here for work. Was very sad to see the drive-ins disappear. I actually proposed to my wife at the drive-in - just had to get a projection slide made and had the proposal appear on the screen after the first movie (which was one of the Harry Potters followed by Corpse Bride ironically enough). Anyway, thanks for all the hard work you've put in over the years. It really is the end of an era.
RP Hi Ian Thank you very much for the service you have done for many years, providing info on! I have just been on the site now and see that it is closing down, and found this email address from the Googlegroup. I have been using Moviesite for a long time, and it was my go to website as it got close to the end of the week to work out what movie would be best for the weekend. I live in Cape Town, and it saved lots of time having the info all together instead of having to check out the separate SterkKinekor, Nu Metro and Labia schedules (especially Pre-COVID when there were more cinemas around). I seem to remember that you would only get the Labia information very close to the Friday, so I couldn't check it too early in the week. The site was really convenient, especially compared to the flashy, but often cumbersome websites of the movie chains. And I appreciated that there was a movie enthusiast behind your website, who was pleased to share this info with South Africa. (Though I must confess I hardly clicked on the ads, and completely understand it was not sustainable to run.) So just emailing to say your work was much appreciated, and I wish you loads of happy relaxing movies hours in future Thanks again Cheers
AM Hi Ian I am one of those who found this site an absolute pleasure and source of great help. I am sincerely going to miss you, but can fully understand what is happening and I for one, am so not an AI fan, but I suppose change is inevitable. Be it good or bad is debatable over a large fire and lots of red wine!! Go well and wishing you all of the very best for the future (with lots of exquisite cuisine on the table) 😊 Kindest regards and many thanks and appreciation
CL Cannot believe my favourite, most used website is coming to an end. I am honestly choked up. Thank you for the service. I really appreciate it. I'm a massive movie nerd and even have a MA Cinema Studies from New York University....currently pursuing a PHD. So ja, I have letters behind my name that want to thank you. Gosh. I'm so sad.
Dr M Sorry to see you go. Was a great resource for film fans like me. Thank you for your dedication over the years. All the very best.
GK Hi Ian, I'd like to say a big Thank You for all your work. I came across TheMovieSite in 2008 for the first time. It was the only place online I could quickly see, accurate, times for screenings. Over the years I used the resource you made available 3-4 times a year, without ever encountering any issue. Thank you so very much. You improved all of our navigation of the South African Cinema scene. Take care 🤗 Yours, a great admirer

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