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How Netflix Won the Streaming Wars with AI

+ was this picture real or AI?

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Welcome to Sunday, reader. We’re diving deep today… into Netflix! How did they win the streaming wars with AI?

And find out if the image was AI or real!

Big shoutout to Shortform, our sponsor for today! Making the unreadable nonfiction, actually readable.

Read time: 7 minutes


How Netflix Won the Streaming Wars with AI

The streaming wars are over - the winner? Netflix. No underdog stories here. The data is clear, other streaming services are struggling, while Netflix powers ahead.

How did they do it?

Ever found yourself lost in the Netflix scroll, only to be hooked by a show you've never heard of?

That's no accident.

It's the work of Netflix's AI, a blend of tech wizardry and data science that knows you better than your mates.

And by the way, those tempting thumbnails that catch your eye?

They're clickbait, crafted by AI, just for you. Yes, you read that right.

Those images that make you pause and think, "Maybe just one episode," are personalised.

Ever noticed how they seem to spotlight your favourite actor or hint at a genre you can't resist?

That's Netflix's machine learning algorithm at play, tailoring each thumbnail to your tastes.

It's all about making sure that, whether it's a gritty drama or a laugh-out-loud comedy, the thumbnail grabs your attention. This is just one of the ways that Netflix has leveraged AI to get an advantage over its competitors.

Personalised by AI

But how does Netflix pull off this personalised trickery?

It dives deep into your viewing history, analysing every choice you make.

The AI then uses this data to predict what might catch your eye next.

So, if you've been watching a lot of fantasy series, don't be surprised if the thumbnail for "Shadow and Bone" pops up, subtly suggesting a leap to "The Witcher" or "Cursed."

This isn't just about making the thumbnails look pretty.

It's a sophisticated dance of data science and creative design, all aimed at making sure the recommendations are spot-on.

Netflix's algorithm churns through heaps of data to understand your preferences and then serves up a visual nudge that's hard to ignore.

The beauty of this system is in its simplicity for the user.

A single click on one of these tailor-made thumbnails takes you on a journey through Netflix's vast library, guiding you from one favourite to the next with eerie accuracy.

Disney raises the white flag

Disney - one of the big three streaming services - conceded in a big way recently. They’ve started licensing their exclusive content to Netflix once again.

That’s right - you don’t need Disney Plus to see Disney anymore. Streaming services are expensive to run, and clearly, the numbers weren’t adding up for Disney.

AI fuels our endless binge

Netflix's AI doesn't just stop at knowing what you want to watch; it makes sure the invitation to watch is as irresistible as possible.

So next time you find yourself drawn to a show by its captivating thumbnail, remember: it's not serendipity.

It's the result of Netflix's AI, meticulously crafting each aspect of your browsing experience to ensure you find exactly what you didn't know you were looking for.

Netflix's AI is the unseen guide, leading you through the vastness of its content, one personalised thumbnail at a time.

The golden age of streaming is over. How long can the smaller fish survive?

Which Streaming Service is Most Likely to Fail in 2024?

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Vote for live results and see results + opinions from yesterday at the bottom of the email.


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AI Image or Real? - The Results!

Yesterday we asked you to vote on an image and guess whether it was a real photo or an AI-generated image.

What did you think?

49% said made with AI

51% said real photo

It was… AI!

That’s some pretty clean work though, I’d be confused.

This picture was made on Midjourney!

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Samsung Electronics' executive chairman, Lee Jae-yong, convicted of bribing South Korean president, also faces charges of stock price manipulation and accounting fraud related to Samsung affiliates' merger.

AI Art

Artwork submitted by Mindstream reader Luke St “Gandalf and Dumbledore having tea ”

Get art inspiration by trying this prompt in your image generator of choice.

Lego Game of Thrones

Happy with the result, or have some other artwork you’re proud of?
You can send in your artwork and we will feature it, with credit to you.

We get a lot of submissions, but we do look at every single one! So please don’t hesitate to send us your art.

Yesterday’s Poll

 How do you think we'll find aliens first?”

Scanning the cosmos with AI (like brainiac space detectives) 44%

Boot on the ground (as in sending astronauts on a first-contact mission) 20%

Pure dumb luck (like, we accidentally bump into them in space) 36%

Reader’s Opinions

“Space is pretty big, and one day we will just bump into our friends unexpectedly.” -michael.de

They'll show up when they're ready to colonize the planet. :)” - jim@me

Submit your opinions in our daily poll for the chance to be featured!

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