GenuineVC David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

June 2, 2005

My first two posts (here and here) on personalized predictive media covered both Amazon and Findory as examples. Both services give to me content not only that I know I want, but also content that I wasn’t even aware I wanted. Another illustration of this personalization/prediction in effect is offered by Tivo. Like Amazon’s purchasing recommendations and Findory’s news/blog suggestions, Tivo records and offers users television shows based on their past viewing patterns and user input.

To be honest, I haven’t found Tivo’s suggested programs to be particularly accurate or useful to what I actually want. I am not sure if they are still working on their engine, or if my television tastes are difficult to discern, but my satisfaction with this aspect of their service has been lacking. Have others had similar experiences?

That being said, I raise the Tivo example for two reasons. First, because it is a high-profile company heading towards a personalized predictive media offering. Secondly and more importantly, Tivo seamlessly integrates the personalization/prediction directly into the user experience. On the Tivo remote control are thumbs-up and thumbs-down buttons for the user to directly input her input. The engine-determined content rests side-by-side the user-requested content in the listings area, the “Now Playing List.” The key here is that the personalized predictions aren’t a separate component, but rather play an integrated role in the user experience. When a user isn’t required to think about ensuring that content finds them, and does anyway, it is then when it is most valuable.

  • http://glinden.blogspot.com Greg Linden

    Hi, David. Very interesting series of posts! Glad you are enjoying Findory!

    On TiVo Suggestions, you might be interested in this analysis I did a while back on why the quality of the recommendations is so poor:

    http://glinden.blogspot.com/2005/02/tivo-suggestions-paper.html

    The discussion is somewhat technical, but it basically comes down to not spending enough time and effort working to improve predictive accuracy. Surprisingly, TiVo Suggestions do not seem to be a priority for TiVo’s management team.

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