How does Netflix know what I like?
- How it works?
- Why it works?
- The scariest part of it
How weird is it when Netflix recommends films or shows to you and you get immediately defensive thinking, “You don’t know me Netflix?” Then you see what they recommend and you quickly change your verbal tone to, “Ooh, that show looks interesting!”
HOW DO THEY KNOW?!
Netflix nerds are very savvy. So savvy, it’s scary.
It’s all about DATA, DATA, DATA and more DATA:
According to Netflix, as of mid 2017, they’ve amassed 94 million paid subscribers around the world so by this point in time, that number would be far beyond the 100 million mark.
That’s a lot of data to take into consideration.
Clearly, the most obvious way they can track what we watch is by that moment we relax on the couch, pick up the remote and click on a show to start the daily binge. What you might not know is that they also track what time of day it is, if you’re watching on a TV or iPad and whether or not you start, stop or fast-forward the program or just bail all together after the first five minutes.
Now it’s getting deep.
In 2014, Netflix’s Data Scientist, Mohammad Sabah stated that “75 percent of users select movies based on the company’s recommendations, and Netflix wants to make that number even higher.”
So, it pays for these guys to know what we like watching.
From there, they’ve created several complex algorithms that sort out the data and begin to deliver recommendations based on like-minded viewing to each individual. So if a bunch of people are watching “House of Cards” then Netflix might recommend something directed by David Fincher as well as “American Horror Story” as, per their data, lots of people who gave “House of Cards” five stars did the same with ‘American Horror Story’ for example. The algorithms factor in where you are in the world, what cast members are similar to something previously watched, directors, genres, so on and so forth, the list is endless as they continue to work away at cracking the code.
Now, The Scary Part:
When Netflix released that they were going to produce the American version of ‘House of Cards’ for $100 million, two seasons, without even seeing a pilot, everyone in the biz was shocked. What the streaming powerhouse had over their competitors however, was data.
They compiled enough data to ensure this was a sound investment. Subscribers were already watching David Fincher’s “The Social Network” as well as the British version of the show plus Kevin Spacey rated very highly so they believed they were onto a winner. They were right.
So, Netflix doesn’t just know what shows we like...they know what shows to make!
Get out of my head Netflix!
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