SURPRISE! Netflix’s Secret Special Algorithm Is A Human

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Digital Bucket says,

Since going public just over a decade ago, Netflix has changed the rules about where, how and when TV shows and movies get watched. And more recently by making huge bets producing some of the most creative, dynamic and critically acclaimed series on “television”  in-house, Netflix has also redefined how shows gets made in the first place. In a field as competitive and risky as producing world-class original broadcast content, how has such a young company managed to find so much success?  It’s all in the algorithm. And its name is Ted.

by Tim Wu, The New Yorker:

[excerpt] … Studios and television networks have long made decisions about what to produce based on the intuitions of a limited number of executives. Television studios have Nielson ratings, and movie studios have box-office sales, to help guide them. But those are relatively simple metrics, and notoriously unreliable; as the screenwriter William Goldman famously said, “nobody, nobody—not now, not ever—knows the least goddamn thing about what is or isn’t going to work at the box office.” As with the arrival of sabermetrics in baseball or the rise of pollsters in politics, the potential for the quants to change the industry—to really figure out what people want to watch—is clear.

Netflix and its chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, have been the most outspoken proponents of data-driven programming, which they say was behind the company’s biggest successes, such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” Soon after the début of “House of Cards,” David Carr, writing in the Times, pronounced that “Big bets are now being informed by Big Data.” In 2013, Kevin Spacey, the star of the show, said that Netflix had come to him and said, “We believe in you. We’ve run our data and it tells us that our audience would watch this series. We don’t need you to do a pilot. How many do you wanna do?”

Read More @ The New

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