Netflix to run second film-suggestion tech contest

Aug 11, 2009 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- You might call it "Son of the Netflix Prize."

The DVD rental company has not yet announced a winner for its first $1 million challenge to improve its system of recommending movies that subscribers may enjoy, but it is already indicating there will be a sequel.

In a post on the Web forum set up for the current prize, Netflix Inc.'s chief product officer, Neil Hunt, said Netflix will announce specific details of a second contest in late September, when it divulges the winner of the first one.

The original contest was launched in 2006 to improve predictions on Netflix's site by at least 10 percent. The idea was to farm out valuable research to thousands of participants. More than 51,000 people in 186 countries took part.

Two teams - one called BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, the other called The Ensemble - are now vying for the prize. The BellKor team submitted its solution first in late June, kicking off a 30-day period in which other contestants were able to enter their best work and try to beat the group's effort. The Ensemble submitted its solution in late July.

According to Netflix's online prize leaderboard, The Ensemble had improved predictions for what movies people will enjoy by 10.10 percent while BellKor had improved predictions by 10.09 percent. It is not clear yet which team will be declared the winner, though.

Hunt said Round Two will be a "big money contest with some new twists."

He did not specify how much money will be involved, but indicated the contest will be quicker, with the Alviso, Calif.-based company issuing prizes for the best entries after six months and 18 months. During the first contest, prizes were awarded for progress in 2007 and 2008.

"While the first contest has been remarkable, we think Netflix Prize 2 will be more challenging, more fun, and even more useful to the field," he wrote.

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey said the posting last week was simply meant to alert potential participants that another contest is in the offing. Within an hour of its posting, he said, a couple dozen people responded with interest.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Netflix ups fees for Blu-ray amid rising demand

Mar 30, 2009

(AP) -- Online DVD rental leader Netflix Inc. is raising its prices for Blu-ray discs in a change that will triple or quadruple the high-definition surcharge on Netflix's most popular subscription plans.

Familiar script: Netflix 2Q tops expectations

Jul 23, 2009

(AP) -- Netflix Inc.'s second-quarter profit shot past analyst expectations, following a familiar script as recession-weary consumers flocked to its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming service.

Wearable power competition announced

Jul 06, 2007

Calling all engineers and designers -- the U.S. Defense Department is sponsoring a competition to develop a wearable electric power system for war fighters.

Idol goes Underground with online contest

Mar 27, 2006

As the fifth season of American Idol wraps up on television, Web site American Idol Underground is just beginning its Big Push contest, where unknown artists compete and get judged by online listeners.

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

Sep 19, 2014

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 0