After several months of internal discussion, we are announcing our plans to use TMDB as the primary data source for all TV shows. The quality and completeness of data has greatly improved at TMDB over the years and we think with some re-alignment of community resources, it can work really well as Trakt’s primary TV data source.


Why are you switching to TMDB?

What it really boils down to is a moral opposition to taking in data from a community and then trying to sell it back to them. We believe when a user contributes to an online data source, they mean for that work to be shared with everyone around them. Both TMDB and Trakt have open and free APIs for developers to build upon that hard work.


TVDB is enforcing a commercial paid model to get access to their community moderated data. The first option is a commercial agreement with an app directly, but we’ve heard TVDB is asking for unrealistic licensing fees compared to an app’s revenue. The second option is charging users directly to access TVDB data. That doesn’t really work either, since that means an app is dependent on users paying a 3rd party service to work.


What’s the plan?

  1. New TV shows are imported using TMDB as their data source (all new shows since November 2020 already use TMDB)

  2. When we do nightly data refreshes, we compare TMDB with TVDB to determine if the seasons and episodes match up. (we’ve gathered data on over 20,000 shows since November 2020)

  3. We created a comparison page for TMDB and TVDB data. This helps determine what data is missing or needs to be updated at TMDB.

  4. If shows 100% match up, we will automatically change to TMDB as the data source. We’re also working on tools to help Trakt users verify and indicate a show can be switched to TMDB. (this will happen soon)

How can you help?

Many of you help moderate TVDB and TMDB, and we can’t thank you enough for doing that! It helps Trakt and the thousands of other apps that use metadata from both sources.


We need your help to ensure TMDB data is complete and ready for the transition. This means keeping TV shows updated with new episodes as they air and backfilling old shows with incomplete seasons and episodes.


Please read the TMDB Contribution Bible and follow all the rules for contributing data. Our goal isn’t to simply replicate TVDB data over, but rather update TMDB using their rules and standards. Some Trakt TV shows will need to be manually adjusted to match TMDB, we can handle that in Trakt support.


Comparison page

The comparison page helps visualize TMDB and TVDB data to determine what is missing or different. Green rows indicate a 100% match of the episode count, air dates, and titles. Blue rows indicate the episode count matches, but there might be differences in air date or title. Red rows indicate the episode count doesn't match. Click the + to expand a season to see individual episode info. All of these are linked to TMDB and TVDB as well, so you can quickly jump to those databases.

Thank you!

Thanks again for all your help with the TMDB transition and moderating data over there. We really appreciate it!

— Trakt