from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Netflix is a tech company that happens to be in the movie business, so they do things like categorize every movie and TV show imaginable into 76,897 micro-genres. Everything from ‘Dinosaur TV Documentaries’ to ‘Cerebral Con-Game Thrillers’. They use this meta data to power their recommendations, which drive 75% of its subscribers’ viewing choices, and was worth a $1 million prize for 10% better accuracy. They pay people to watch videos all day, and assign tags based on a 36-page guide. If you like "Narcos" you might also enjoy "Sicario" and "End of Watch", because they've all been tagged as "Gritty", "Dark" and "Suspenseful”. They’ll also recommend “Narcos: Mexico”, because that's one lesson Hollywood already learned: originality is overrated.
“Risk aversion has really paid off, and studios and production companies have noticed this” according to Hickey. All but 3 of the top 10 grossing films are sequels/franchises (and those 3 are based on existing stories). Consumers are risk-averse — they have limited time for entertainment, so they choose the comfort of stories, actors, and brands they know. Of the top 100 box-office hits every year, only 38.5 percent aren't “an adaptation, sequel, spin-off, remake, or other such derivative work”. Die Hard spawned 4 official sequels, but became a popular recipe: we've had Die Hard on a plane (Passenger 57), battleship (Under Siege), bus (Speed), mountain (Cliffhanger), prison (The Rock), and skyscraper (Skyscraper). We even had two in the White House within 3 months of each other (Olympus has Fallen and White House Down). Of course Die Hard can trace its own lineage back to Prometheus (from Greek Mythology, not the prequel to Alien...).
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Just How Unoriginal Are Hollywood Movies — And Does It Matter?
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Seeing Double: 'Olympus Has Fallen' Vs 'White House Down'
Why is Frankenstein called the modern Prometheus?