Monday, September 21, 2009

Netflix Prize: $1 Million Paid, Another Million Now Up For Grabs

After nearly three years and efforts by more than 51,000 people worldwide, Netflix today awarded the Netflix Prize and $1 million to a team of seven engineers, statisticians and researchers from Austria, Canada, Israel and the U.S.

The team "BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos" leaderboard met face-to-face for the first time this morning before a news conference at which Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt named them winners, draped Olympic-size "gold" medals around their necks and handed them a check for $1 million. Their collaborative entry had taken place entirely over the net.

Moments later Neil announced details about Netflix Prize 2.

The contest ended in July with moments of real drama. Engineers at Netflix watched in amazement as the contest came down to the last few minutes when the winning team just edged out "The Ensemble," many of whose members were present at the New York award ceremony.

Netflix Prizemasters Stan Lanning and Jon Sanders have been extremely pleased how participants openly offered advice, information, ideas, and even libraries of code on the Prize Forum pages. The final result is a benefit to Netflix members as the movie predictions we make for you will be twice as good as before.

While the final curtain has come down on the Prize, Neil lifted the curtain a bit on the upcoming new Netflix Prize 2 contest. It will focus more on helping customers early in their experience with Netflix, drawing on many more sources of data to try to find just the right movies.

For more information on the winning entry for the original Prize and the new Netflix Prize 2 contest check out http://www.netflixprize.com.