By way of an article written by Phil Simon at SAS’ Data Roundtable Blog, I was led to this most excellent article written by Alexis C. Madrigal in The Atlantic. In How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood, Madrigal writes how he went about reverse engineering of his own to discover the more than 75,000 micro-genre’s used by Netflix to meticulously tag the video content they distribute.
Having tagged their content with these detailed metadata tags, Netflix is able to better, some might say eerily so, suggest what we might like to watch next once we disclose our relative preference for the content we’ve already seen.
I highly recommend taking the 15 minutes or so it will take to read Madrigal’s article. It will be well worth your while, not only for the insights into what and how Netflix is executing their voodoo, but also for the insights into some of the true potential of data when married with the appropriate external and meta-data to give it new and different context.
I’ve written before on this site about the Netflix data advantage. The company isn’t exactly forthcoming about its data, a certainly tenable position these days. After all, data is a major source of its competitive advantage.
Now, thanks to an astonishing article by Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic, laypeople now possess a much greater understanding of the data that Netflix uses and generates.
There is no shortage of valuable lessons on contemporary data management to be gleaned from Netflix. I highly recommend reading the entire article. Suffice it to say that everything that Netflix can do is based upon some form of data. For now and the foreseeable future, data contains an important human element. Organizations that ignore this side of equation do so at their own peril.