How Netflix Personalizes Your Recommended Viewing

When you finish binging Stranger Things you take for granted Netflix may recommend another scary TV show or movie.

But would you expect to find the Pokémon animated TV series or That Seventies Show in your “Because You Watched” list?

Netflix is finding some interesting intersections of viewing tastes among its massive, and growing, collection of subscriber viewing data. As the service has grown globally to more than 93 million subscribers — and as many as 300 million individual user profiles — Netflix has also evolved and improved its algorithms for recommending other content to watch.

“It’s a whole new way of finding people’s individual tastes (and) getting it in front of them,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix. “We are really focused on Netflix being the home of your favorite show, no matter what your taste is.”

Sarandos and Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, talked with USA TODAY in advance of the streaming video provider’s Wednesday daylong preview of upcoming 2017 content.

What you watch on Netflix, as well as when and how, lands you in one or more of about 1,300 distinct taste communities, Yellin says. The reason you might be recommended Pokémon after Stranger Things is because many like-minded Netflix viewers have seen both.

Similarly, those who watch 13th, a documentary about racial bias and incarceration, are likely to watch The Get Down and Hip Hop Evolution, but may also gravitate to food documentaries such as Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Forks Over Knives. “We just pay attention to certain clusters and groupings of movie and TV shows the same people tend to watch together,” Yellin Said. “When they watch The Crown, what do they watch before or after?”

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SOURCE: USA Today, Mike Snider