It can get quite creepy when you realise how on point streaming services like Netflix and Spotify can pinpoint your tastes precisely.
Much of it is based on the genres and performances previously accessed, but there is more to it, as Netflix told us in the following guide.
Back to the basics
Whenever you access the Netflix service, the recommendation system attempts to help you find a show or movie to enjoy as quickly and easily as possible. The service bases its suggestions on a number of factors including interactions with the service (such as how you rated viewed titles), information on titles available on the service (such as the genre, release year and cast) and how they compare to your favourites, and the viewing preferences of other members who have a similar taste in entertainment.
The Netflix recommendation system does not include demographic information – like your age or gender – as part of the recommendation-making process. If you can not find something that you are looking for under the recommendations, you can always search the comprehensive catalogue. When you enter a search query, the top results returned are based on the actions of other members who have entered the same or similar queries. Netflix has also introduced mobile preview on your on-to-go device, giving you a fun and easy way to learn about new content and find out what you want to watch even faster.
When you create your Netflix account or even add a new profile to your account, you are asked to choose a few titles that you might like. This information is used to "jump start" your recommendations, giving Netflix a starting point to work from with a basic understanding of your preferences. Identifying these titles is optional of course, but if you choose to forego this step, you will begin your Netflix experience with a list of diverse and popular titles to choose from. Your viewing preferences from this point will then feed into the recommendation system and enable greater personalisation as time goes on.
For those who do not enter some of their favourite titles to kick off their Netflix experience, once you start watching other titles on the service this will "supercede" any initial preferences and the titles you've watched more recently will outweigh titles you watched in the past in terms of driving recommendations.
Rankings and title representation
In addition to carefully selecting which titles to include in the rows on your Netflix profile homepage, the recommendation system also ranks each title within each row and ranks the rows themselves, all in order of what you are likely to enjoy most.
The most strongly recommended rows are therefore placed at the top, with the most strongly recommend titles at the beginning of each row, on the left (unless you have selected Arabic or Hebrew as your language, in which case these titles will be ordered from right to left).
So, if you've ever thought that maybe your Netflix profile knows you better than your closest friend, you might be right. But it is not magic, it is just the Netflix Effect, personalising the entertainment experience.