Netflix ended speculation as to who would take home the Netflix Prize today, officially awarding the $1 million purse to team BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos after several months in which no official winner had been announced (another team, The Ensemble, met the criteria to win, though BellKor’s was the front-runner). But Netflix found the contest to be so successful that it launched a second contest today, challenging programmers to model “taste profiles” from demographic and behavioral data.
The data will come from Netflix and will include more than 100 million data points including ZIP code, gender, age, previous rental information and genre ratings from Netflix’s five-star movie rating system. From that information, teams will try to model individuals’ tastes, helping the company to predict what movies a particular customer would want to see.
The original Netflix prize challenged teams to create a movie recommendation algorithm at least ten percent better than the one Netflix already had. Two different teams crossed the threshold, but it took three years to do so. The new contest will not have a particular threshold teams will have to cross, but rather will award $500,000 to the leading team after six months, and another $500,000 to the leading team after 18 months. Netflix has not yet posted the official rules to the Netflix prize page, but we expect an official update shortly.