Yahoo Launches Personalized Movie Recommendations

Looking for a film recommendation based on your own personal tastes and interests? Check out Yahoo’s new personalized movie recommendations, launched today.

Movie recommendations from Yahoo movies provides personalized recommendations for both current and past films playing in theaters, on TV or on DVD/video. It’s easy to use—simply enter your age range and gender (this is optional, but can help focus the recommendations you receive), indicate whether you lean more toward Hollywood-type or independent films, and rate a few movies that you’ve already seen.

Ratings are letter grades from A to F, and you can make them even more fine-grained by adding a plus or minus to the grade. Once you’ve completed this simple process, you’re presented with recommended movies showing at your local theaters and on your local television stations.

Each movie recommendation comes with a number of options. You can click on the title of the movie to get its full Yahoo movies profile, including an overview of the film, cast and credits, trailers and clips and other useful information. You’re also presented with ratings from both Yahoo users and movie critics, allowing you to see at a glance how each group rated the movie.

If you’ve already seen the movie, you can rate it on the spot, and any time the movie is recommended to you again you’ll see your own rating. Don’t want to see the film again? Click the “don’t recommend again” link.

For movies playing in theaters, you can click a link to get show times and tickets. For TV movies, the date, time and channel that it’s playing on is displayed. You can also remove channels from your recommendations if you don’t like them or don’t receive them at your home.

How good are the recommendations? Quite good, actually. I’m an avid Netflix subscriber, and I’ve often been disappointed with the recommendations I’ve received from the company, even after rating hundreds of films. By contrast, the movies recommended by Yahoo uniformly caught my interest, even after rating just a few films. As with most recommendation services, the more you use them the better they tend to get, so if the recommendations continue to be good I’ll certainly continue using Yahoo’s service.

In addition to providing recommendations based on your own ratings and tastes, recommendations from other Yahoo users with similar interests to your own are provided, along with the reviews they’ve written. Personally, I find these recommendations less-useful than those based on my own rankings. I have somewhat eclectic interests, and many of the recommendations by other Yahoo users seem to follow more mainstream tastes.

If you do like someone else’s movie recommendations, you can send an instant message to that person.

Another nice feature is the ability to add recommended movies to lists. You can create lists of favorite movies, movies you plan to see, movies you own—just about any type of list you desire.

Movie recommendations from Yahoo movies is powered by the same ChoiceStream technology behind the Yahoo gift finder that I wrote about earlier this month. If you’re looking for suggestions for other types of content, Gary Price has a roundup of web-based recommendation services on the Search Engine Watch blog.

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