You may know Vudu as the startup bringing high definition movie rentals and rent-to-own services to set-top boxes like PlayStation 3 and the Boxee Box. And most TVs and Blu-ray players. Vudu recently became the second streaming service to receive its own dedicated button on Vizio’s remote controls, following Netflix.
You may also know Peter Gabriel, the British rocker who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of Genesis. Also the man responsible for Sledgehammer. What you may not know is that Gabriel is the front man and lead investor in a rapidly proliferating recommendation service called The Filter. Or that today The Filter is officially announcing that it has been tapped by Vudu to power its recommendation engine.
The Filter is already providing its recommendation technology to an impressive list of clients, including Sony Music, Nokia, Comcast, Warner Brothers, NBC — and now it’s added Vudu’s huge library of HD movies to the list. As my colleague Mike Butcher wrote last year, The Filter’s main business model involves becoming a white label personalization engine for mass audiences. As such, it needs partnerships like these to prove that its technology is able to scale into the billion-request level. Today’s announcement is further indication that the UK-based business is well on its way, considering it currently reaches more than 200 million unique users across multiple devices.
Through the new partnership, The Filter will offer Vudu subscribers a personalized video-on-demand experience based on customers’ previous viewing habits. The service is a little bit Amazon, a little bit Last.fm, and a little bit Netflix, serving its users with recommendations that are based on purchase data, consumption data, combining a wide array of statistical and rule-based analysis with artificial intelligence techniques that both learn and forget — all in an effort to provide smarter recommendations while protecting user privacy.
In the case of Vudu, The Filter’s recommendation engine will generate targeted and timely video recommendations from Vudu’s selection of streaming movies and TV shows. And seeing as the competitors in this space, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube included, collectively reach a massive audience and are trying to differentiate their services in an effort to provide the best streaming movie (and movie recommendation) option, The Filter is becoming a big part of the conversation.
Vudu was acquired by Walmart last year (for an estimated $100 million-plus), as a play into the Internet-ready TV sales market, so The Filter may now count Walmart as a channel through which to reach new users. And Walmart is, well, a larger-than-average corporation, that may one day sell its products (beyond movies and TV shows) through a service like Vudu, using The Filter to recommend everything from movies to a new pair of pants. Or a new rifle. Look out!