Netflix explains how it uses AI to sell you on a show

For thematic comparisons, Netflix creates a “similarity map” where AI uses a show’s metadata, tags and summaries (“embeddings” in Netflix’s world) help determine links to other titles. Marketers would know which shows and movies to help describe a coming-of-age comedy, for example.

With audience sizes, the service has an AI model that compares the audience sizes of similar work in a given country. If a drama is likely to fare well in Spain, Netflix might not only ramp up marketing in the region but prepare dubs and subtitles earlier.

The systems are self-supervised, letting them access a much wider range of titles than they would if they were limited to Netflix’s own info.

Netflix’s approach might not be thrilling if you prefer the human approach — there’s nothing quite like an indie production getting a huge audience after an executive takes a chance on it. The AI makes it easier for Netflix to market a flood of originals, however, and eliminates some of the subjectivity that could hurt the success of some shows.