Netflix worked out people’s taste in films is more subtle than it thought

Geographical location isn’t that important, obviously


Every time Netflix tweaks its algorithm, it makes everyone realise that the existing one was bafflingly inefficient.

Until that December, Netflix recommended programmes to its users based on where they lived. Films rose to the top because were popular in that country. It’s been rejigging that calculation since the end of last year, when the penny dropped that taste is less straightforward than that: people tend to identify with genres, rather than the other citizens of their country.

22732693332_32a35b609f_oNetflix twigged that its global reach – it’s available in 190 countries now – permits more bespoke recommendations.

“Intuitively, this makes sense,” reads a Netflix statement. “If a member likes sci-fi movies, someone on the other side of the world who also likes sci-fi would be a better source for recommendations than their next-door neighbour who likes food documentaries.”

“Great stories transcend borders, and that viewers around the world have more in common than they may realize,” Carlos Gomez-Uribe, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, wrote in a company blog post. “Now our members benefit from like-minded viewers no matter where they are in the world.”

This seems laughably obvious.