Topic 2

A near-infinite number of services rely on user data to shape individual experiences.  


There was a time when business analysts were predicting the failure of Netflix’s streaming service. Once a leader in CD movie rentals by mail, in 2007, Netflix was shifting its business model to online streaming in response to the launch of Amazon Prime Video one year earlier.

In those early years, the Netflix streaming catalog was slim and subscribers became frustrated not finding preferred titles; and to follow on, many found making a decision among the others was too difficult. “A typical Netflix member loses interest after sixty-to-ninety seconds spent reviewing titles,” Gomez-Uribe wrote in an article on the process. “The user either finds something of interest or abandons the service.”

The solution was to devise algorithms that would capture user choices and use the information to determine which movie titles to carry, and for how long.  It was later used as input for developing original movies and series, which kicked off with the successful drama ‘House of Cards,’ based on subscribers’ preference to see Kevin Spacey in a dramatic role.

Those algorithms have helped Netflix soar to the most preferred streaming service with 214 million subscribers: 40 million more than its closest competitor Amazon Prime Video.

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