Netflix Prize Contest Closes After Nearly 3 Years

    July 27, 2009
    Chris Crum

If you follow Netflix news at all, you probably know that the company has had a contest in place for nearly three years. The prize was a million dollars, and the point of the contest was to see who could improve upon the site’s recommendation algorithm by 10%.

Netflix Prize

"The contest made available to contestants 100 million anonymous movie ratings ranging from one to five stars, the largest such data set ever released," engineer Jon Sanders explains on the company blog. "All personal information identifying individual Netflix members was removed from the prize data, which contained only movie titles, star ratings and dates but no text reviews."

Netflix has not confirmed the winner of the prize yet. They are waiting to validate the submissions. There were about 44,000 entries from 5,169 teams in 186 countries. Not a bad competition.

"The winning team will take home $1 million and Netflix members will benefit as we will incorporate the winner’s technology in our recommendations system to continually improve the movie recommendations we make for you," says Sanders.

Last week Netflix announced its financial results for the second quarter. The company reported a 22% increase in profit thanks to subscriber growth. Earlier this year, the company reached a couple of milestones – surpassing 10 million subscribers and shipping its second billionth movie (which happened much faster than the first billionth).