Thursday, June 19, 2008

Netflix Followup And August Rush

So Curt has sent me a couple of links to articles where other people are complaining about Netflix doing away with profiles (if you look closely at the comments in this article you'll see Curt commented basically saying he doesn't care since he never knew about profiles). This guy's blog post has links to a bunch of name brand news articles about it too. Basically the big difference between these other articles and what I wrote yesterday is apparently people actually are reading these other articles. That first article even links to an online petition. So far there are over thousand signatures. After seeing that I thought maybe there would be some hope that Netflix would change their mind, then I searched and found the number of Netflix subscribers is 8.65 million. Hmmm, let's see, 1200 /8.65 million is ... pretty insignificant. I've seen articles claiming profiles were used by up to 5% of Netflix customers, but I think Netflix themselves have said that only about 1% of it's subscribers use the feature. This means less than 1% of the 1% of customers are "outraged" enough to even sign an online petition. So while the separate queues going away is annoying, it appears we'll have to learn to live with it since I don't see a couple thousand people changing Netflix's mind. But I predict their ratings and recommendations are going to be end up being worthless.

Consider the movie August Rush. This was a rental Ginger got last week that we've watched. It's a feel good story. On the surface the movie's plot is completely unbelievable, but believe it or not that's okay, because early in the movie they basically hang a lantern on it by telling you it's a modern day fairy tale (the main character at one point says he believes in the power of music more than fairy tales). The story is about an orphan who believes he can use music to reconnect with his parents. It's a nice touching story and it's got some really nice original music in it that ranges from indie love ballad, to street performances, to classical music. I liked the movie. It hits the right notes so to speak and given that they've told you it's fairy tale in that context I think it works. I rated it as three stars on Netflix. Ginger, however, absolutely loved the movie. She gave it five stars. In fact she just sent the movie back today after watching it four or five times. And the only reason I think she sent it back today was she bought the DVD and the soundtrack from Amazon and they arrived today.

So what happens without profiles. We only get one rating for the movie, and that's going to drive the recommendations. The same thing happens in reverse though, I've taken a liking to the series The Wire, whereas Ginger hates the show. Ultimately I think this is going to end up making movie recommendations from Netflix completely worthless for accounts with multiple users whereas with the profiles we could rate movies separately and recommendations were tailored to us based on our ratings.

No comments: