Netflix Experiment In Outsourced Innovation Showing Good Results

from the surprize dept

Last year, Netflix announced that it would award $1 million to any individual or team that could devise a way for it to improve its movie recommendation engine by at least 10%. While prizes for innovation have grown in popularity in recent years, Netflix is one of the few private business to have attempted something on this scale. Although no team has hit the 10% threshold so far, the contest seems to be going very well. At the moment, a team from Canada and a team from Hungary are duking it out for the top spot out of a field 18,000. The company says they’re improvements have led to a 7.42% improvement in recommendation relevancy. One concern initially was whether this contest would capture the imagination of participants the way the X-Prize or DARPA Grand Challenge did. But on this measure, the contest seems to be doing quite well. In addition to the sheer number of participants, it’s also spawned a number of academic papers relating to the subject. Although the contest isn’t over, the apparent success of it (from multiple standpoints) would seem to augur more of these experiments by other companies going forward.

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Comments on “Netflix Experiment In Outsourced Innovation Showing Good Results”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

the purpose of recommendations is usually to let you know about movies you may not have otherwise considered. its not like you’re bound to only shop within the recommendations, but i have found that a lot of times movies i enjoy end up being recommended. as i tell it which ones i’ve already seen, it leaves me with a pool of movies i haven’t seen that i may be interested in watching. since you can go through a decent amount of movies, it helps to have a recommendation engine since obviously, i don’t know a lot about movies i’ve never seen

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

last comment RE: haywood, btw.

Edit to add something useful:

I used to ignore recommendations too, but have come across dozens of fantastic movies I may not have since paying attention to them. Older movies, obscure movies, foreign films.

I’m extremely anti-advertisement so the last thing I want is more ‘recommendations’ to buy things (e.g. Amazon), but coming from a subscription service that doesn’t require me to pay more to indulge in those recommendations, I say keep ’em coming! This is a rare case of marketing meeting both the customer and supplier’s needs.

Geoff says:


The recommendations sections are actually useful if you take the time to review them – But nothing is more useful than those “other’s that have rented/purchased your selection ALSO rented/bought this” sections. If I am interested in Huge Juggs Babes then I probably want to view some things that someone else with similar interests has watched. Then again I hate the Care Bears with a passion, but I digress.

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