05
Mar

Global content: Netflix sees into our collective soul

Leave a Comment  /  Posted in Algorithm, Blog Post, Content Deals, David Wells, International expansion

david3More takeaway on content from Netflix CFO David Wells’ visit with Morgan Stanley this week:

Netflix will double the number of original shows and movies it produces with the goal of having 40 original programs each year. Content Chief Ted Sarandos expects to reach that level in a couple of years, Wells said.

As always, Wells was cagey about how Netflix measures return on investment for these (sometimes pricey) shows in lieu of ratings (and advertising revenue):

“We don’t have to have a show that has 20 million viewers. A success for us relative to cost might be a show that’s got 2 million to 4 million viewers, and if we can find that set of people that’s going to suit us just nicely,” Wells said.

“As long as we are funding the doubles and triples we’re good. And if that content increasingly works outside the U.S. there is another advantage in terms of being able to distribute to a larger platform outside the U.S. and do that in a very efficient, quick manner where we’re bringing content that is in the right size quickly to those audiences. You don’t have to have the one- and two- and three-year delay that increasingly world consumers are intolerant of and you see that reflected in the piracy numbers.”

What’s cool and somewhat scary about the idea of global micro markets for content is that Netflix will be able to produce some very elaborate data about global media consumption for the first time ever.

The Netflix algorithms’ ability to predict ebb and flow of global tastes will surely yield some interesting insights into other facets of the collective human psyche. Take a look at this story I wrote about how Netflix-type algorithms are being used in other settings.

 

 
20
Oct

Netflix Takes on Europe

Leave a Comment  /  Posted in Algorithm, Reed Hastings

Netflix recently launched in France, and Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland will soon follow suit.  The move has been expected for a while, and CEO Reed Hastings has named Spain, Korea, and Japan as possible future markets.

As the next phases of the expansion unfold, Netflix will be pressed to add significant content and make other investments before it starts to see a profit.  The large data center built by Netflix in Paris has enabled Netflix to get off to a fast start, unlike the company’s slower expansion in Latin America.

Netflix is already backing the making of an original French series, “Marseille,” a move toward content creation that took much longer in the U.S.

This expansion could also give Netflix a powerful new ally in the fight for net neutrality – the European Union, which is currently considering reforms that would solidify net neutrality in law.  “The advantage of net neutrality is that it allows new Internet services to grow without needing the permission of network operators,” said Hastings. “I think it needs to be inscribed in European law.”

Read more here: Netflix will focus on ramping up in Europe over next year

 
08
Oct

Netflix Ratings Mix with Rotten Tomatoes on A Better Queue

Leave a Comment  /  Posted in Algorithm, Blog Post

Netflix’s complicated algorithm for ratings already does a pretty good job of matching users with movies and shows they would like, but Dave Jachimiak had an idea to make it easier for people to find exactly what they wanted.  Jachimiak designed a website that allows you to organize your Netflix options by year, genre, number of reviews, and the show’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating.

The website, A Better Queue, has been around for a while but has only recently gained popularity thanks to websites such as Reddit.  Users can cruise Netflix’s list, compare their choices with ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, and try to set up “a better queue.”

Read more here.

 
15
Jul

The Human Side of Netflix’s Matching Algorithm

Leave a Comment  /  Posted in Algorithm, Blog Post

TV Remote ControlI have written a lot about Netflix’s matching algorithm, dubbed “Cinematch” by the founding team. I did not know the company still uses humans to tag and rate aspects of movies and TV shows. It’s kind of amazing that they have figured out how to make human-generated ratings consistent enough to incorporate into the movie matching system. The original algorithm groups viewers into “neighborhoods” to share movies among people of similar tastes. I would definitely love to have this job!

http://time.com/2970271/job-netflix-professional-binge-watcher/