23 February 2014 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Streaming giant, which makes House of Cards, feeds response from 44 million subscribers into programme commissioning

When Netflix decides to sink $100m into House of Cards without even seeing a pilot, or plans a move into Games of Thrones territory with the upcoming Marco Polo, or pulls off its first Oscar nod after gambling on a documentary charting political unrest in Egypt, the company isn't making blind bets.

The Us streaming giant spends $3bn a year on TV and film rights – with about $300m of that ploughed into making its own shows – using decisions based on a meticulous analysis of the viewing habits of its 44 million subscribers worldwide. Todd Yellin built the engine that cleverly recommends TV shows and films that users might like – it can deliver more than 76,000 different genre types such as "alien films from the 1970s" – and feeds their viewing habits back into the data-driven Netflix programme commissioning machine. »

- Mark Sweney

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