“Television is a visual medium,” says Netflix VP of Product Innovation Chris Jaffe, using a remote control to flip through his Netflix account on a Playstation 3. “For decades, people come home, sit on the couch, press one button, and there’s something visual happening on the screen. The Netflix experience has been, ‘Okay, I need to turn it on and then I start navigating through things and then I select something,’ and it’s not that rich.”
"I think it validates the model in a lot of ways. I think it also blurs the line forever about what is television. Television is what’s on the screen, no matter what size the screen or how the content got to the screen. Television is television is television."
—Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos talks about the Emmy nominations for Netflix shows: House of Cards, Arrested Development, andHemlock Grove.
Overstock.com is about to pull a Netflix. The online retailer known for offering high-quality goods at discount prices will hand out $1 million early next year to the team that can improve its recommendation engine by 10 percent or more.
That probably sounds familiar. Netflix held a similar competition two years ago, offering the same amount of cash to the team that could improve the predictions of how a particular user would rate a particular film, by 10% accuracy or more. Not one, but two teams were able to pull off that feat in the closely followed competition. Overstock is hoping for similar results, given the increasing importance recommendations—and personalization in general—are playing in the world of online commerce.