Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Movies Privacy Television Entertainment

A Peek Into Netflix Queues 113

Posted by kdawson
from the i-know-what-you-watched-last-summer dept.
margaret writes "The New York Times has an interactive Web app where you can map the popularity of various Netflix titles by neighborhood, in a dozen different cities. Invasion of privacy or harmless voyeuristic fun? Either way, it's pretty interesting."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

A Peek Into Netflix Queues

Comments Filter:
  • porn? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by iamagloworm (816661)
    porn, now that's where it'd get interesting...
  • by Spykk (823586) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:17AM (#30712920)
    Anyone else notice that Knowing's rank seems inversely proportional to Rachel Getting Married's rank?
  • by piltdownman84 (853358) <piltdownman84@mac. c o m> on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:43AM (#30713028)
    Looking at the Seattle map one interesting thing stands out for me. The rentals in the zip code of Seattle University seems completely different then everywhere else. What is interesting that ' pseudo intellectual' movies that you would think would be more popular, Milk, Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, are relatively low in this area of learning, while mindless movies, Role Models, House Bunny, where the most popular.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RU1DT (766478)
      Or maybe you're presuming too much about people based on their ZIP code.
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @03:19AM (#30713160)

      Looking at the Seattle map one interesting thing stands out for me. The rentals in the zip code of Seattle University seems completely different then everywhere else. What is interesting that ' pseudo intellectual' movies that you would think would be more popular, Milk, Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, are relatively low in this area of learning, while mindless movies, Role Models, House Bunny, where the most popular.

      I don't find it odd.

      It's just anecdotal, but after a stressful day/week of courses and exams I found myself wanting to unwind and relax with a fun and mindless flick instead of a high quality film.

      Don't get me wrong, I would still enjoy cerebral movies back then but not as frequently as a silly comedy or mindless action flick.

      A mindless entertainment was a good way to unwind, plus you could watch it and laugh together with friends.

      ---------------

      I guess it's somewhat like my reading habits. I enjoy reading and do it fairly often now, likewise I read a fair amount back in high school.

      However in college I was already reading every day for multiple hours for my various courses, so the last thing I after I put down my textbook was pick up yet another book.

      • "but after a stressful day/week of courses and exams I found myself wanting to unwind and relax with a fun and mindless flick"

        Back in the old skool, we unwound and relaxed with a fun and mindless chick. Oh well - someone already pointed out that it takes different strokes for different folks.

        • by maxume (22995)

          Maybe he went to Michigan Tech.

          • by c_forq (924234)
            I had a friend who went there. When asked what they do up there besides school the response was "Usually drink. Or go to Walmart. Or drink and go to Walmart."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by linzeal (197905)
        More intelligent poor folk are pirates. Who has money for Netflix when you are living off Ramen and Peanut Butter?
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          More intelligent poor folk aren't so poor that they can't afford netflix. And if you're a pirate of any note, you've got an internet connection; most internet connections are sufficient for streaming (unlike mine) so you can then parlay the cheapest netflix membership into something great, or at least entertaining.

          Nothing makes Ramen taste inoffensive like distraction. TRUST ME

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      Well, if we're already speculating you may also speculate if you are seeing a biased sample of the student population. At least many of the technically minded students I knew would see no need for a Netflix subscription...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I'm not sure about Milk or Frost/Nixon, but there was a DVD screener for Benjamin Button available for download months before the retail DVD was released. That may have measurably impacted rentals in a college ZIP code area. Or not, who knows?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Um, yeah, duh! Kids like dumbass kid movies, so around a university filled with kids the most popular movies will be kid movies. Actual adults watch movies that are for actual adults, sure, but college students aren't adults in any realistic sense of the word.

    • Maybe they like those movies more, so they go to the movie theater to see those, and the others aren't worth it.

    • By the Miami map, Milk isn't pseudo-intellectual, it's a clear marker of high gay population in the zip code. Interestingly, it seems that even the straights in the gay neighborhoods were renting it.
    • by zoloto (586738)
      You think Milk was popular / pseudo intellectual? Boy do I have some news for you...
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      You only get your official intellectual card when you get to the grad school level. As an undergrad, My friends and I mostly watched mindless comedies.
  • cultural information (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:49AM (#30713050) Journal
    You can use it as an indication of how different regions feel about homosexuality by looking at the rental patterns for Milk (no link, sorry, you'll have to click through the movies until you find it). It was a lot more popular on the west side of the bay than the east side, which also matched voting patterns for proposition 8 (the west side was a lot more strongly opposed to it). In Boston it seems like they are a lot more open minded, except in area code 02126. Don't know what happened there.

    Strangely enough, Milk is in the top 3 movies in San Francisco in every area except the Castro. Try explaining that one if you can.
    • by romiz (757548) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:55AM (#30713068)

      Strangely enough, Milk is in the top 3 movies in San Francisco in every area except the Castro. Try explaining that one if you can.

      Compared to other areas, the residents bought the disk, so they don't need to rent it as much?

      • by StreetStealth (980200) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @03:15AM (#30713146) Journal

        That's actually really interesting to consider -- You could think of Netflix popularity as a band pass of the full spectrum of movie popularity. Imagine a few graphs for other channels that signify different levels of investment: theatrical viewing and DVD purchase above rental, cable viewing below it, and torrenting at the bottom. Now imagine these distributions overlaid on top of each other. I wonder what that graph would look like...

    • by Vellmont (569020)


      Milk is in the top 3 movies in San Francisco in every area except the Castro. Try explaining that one if you can.

      Maybe most people in Castro already saw it in the theater, or rented it months ago? The DVD came out in March of last year, so it's not exactly new.

    • by Eric in SF (1030856) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @02:58AM (#30713090) Homepage

      Everyone in the neighborhood saw it in the theatre and so didn't need to rent it from Netflix.

      We saw it at the Castro theatre about halfway through its total run and it was a full upper balcony sellout. It really was an important film to see as together as a community and I was glad to have taken part in what I felt was a community viewing.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by JackieBrown (987087)

      Really? Renting Milk shows open mindedness?

      I never saw a movie preview for this movie. I could see the arguement that this demographic is more aware of non-mainstream movies more.

      Also, those demographics may just have more homosexuals. I am straight and watch predominantly straight love movies with my wife. I would imagine someone gay would probably prefer more gay love movies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Vellmont (569020)

        You may be a little bit confused. Milk is a movie about the first openly gay elected official in the US, who was later assassinated (along with the mayor) by another elected official. It's not really a "gay" movie any more than Malcolm X was a "black" movie.

        It might be the mainstream thing as you say. But looking at my own city I do note that the more liberal areas of the city are far more likely to be watching Milk than the more conservative parts.

        • You are correct. I had no idea what the movie was about.

          That does lead back to my orignal point.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by JoeMerchant (803320)
          The "Milk compliment" would be Fireproof, a highly conservative movie which seemed to only go over big in Atlanta and Dallas.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rekoil (168689)

            The "Milk compliment" would be Fireproof, a highly conservative movie which seemed to only go over big in Atlanta and Dallas.

            Note that for Atlanta, "Fireproof" was most popular among the southern exurbs, confirming every rural stereotype held by the typical ITP* Atlantan.

            * ITP = Inside The Perimeter, the local nickname for the I-285 bypass.

    • by zsimic (548446) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @03:22AM (#30713168) Homepage
      And then, you can take it to the next level: stats on which zip code examined which other zip code stats... The possibilities are endless: - which zip code is the most "self absorbed", (ie looked at its own stats) - which zip code is the most popular (stats looked up by other zip codes) - which zip code has the most self-confidence problems (looked at other zip codes' stats more than their own..) - which zip code is the most popular homophobic (stats most looked up by other zip codes, while the renting trend of homo movies is high) - and so on
    • "In Boston it seems like they are a lot more open minded, except in area code 02126."

      That is Mattapan; sometimes affectionately referred to as Murderpan. There is a very large criminal element there, and as the name implies, a very high murder rate. That alone cannot explain it though, unless you see significant dips in Dorchester and other high crime areas. I don't really care enough to look, since I don't really think you can make reasonable conclusions even when having local/inside information about a

    • by bwalling (195998)
      I suppose you could try to draw that inference, but it may just be that homosexual love stories don't appeal as much to heterosexuals. I don't have much interest in watching two men fall in love. I think this has to do with the fact that when watching a romantic movie, my interest in the love story is often based on my own attraction to the female character. If she's a bitch or an idiot or I don't find her attractive, I'm not that interested. So, if the romance involves two men, it's unlikely that I'll
      • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @11:14AM (#30714564)

        yes, but if you can drag yourself away from your narcissism, you'll find your girlfriend not only loves love stories, but love stories about sad relationships between 2 seriously hot men ('cos the movie-makers are always going to make a story about gay relationships involving 2 muscular cowboys rather than 2 fat nerds), and it also has the added attraction of some man-on-man action.

        So you'd expect homosexual love stories can appeal to heterosexuals. Just like you wouldn't mind going to see 2 hot lesbian chicks fall in love (oh, you've already seen that one, yeah me too ;)

        Also a lot of heterosexual and homosexual people just like movies, sometimes you want something intellectually stimulating even if it has a gender-related subplot you still watch it for the main plot. OK, love stories don't fall into this category so much, but Milk (for example) may have a gay subplot but that's not what the story is about. Just like you can watch Malcolm X in an entirely white neighbourhood.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not from the USA, so what's going on in Washington? There seems to be a big difference between those areas in the top left versus bottom right quadrants. It almost as if there is some kind of boundary along the line from the bottom left corner of the map to the top right.

      • That border pretty well tracks the gay friendly neighborhoods in the region. The 22111 anomaly chopped out of Arlington looks to be Ft Myer, so I would guess the people there who would like to watch Milk are probably scared of accidentally telling even though no one asked.

      • It is the Potomac river boundary. Capitol hill is just north of the river, and the south-east section of the river is almost all filled with african americans. The capitol region has a higher education rate (about half the people living there graduated from college). As would be expected from the graduation rates, that area has higher income levels as well. Here is a demographic breakdown of the area around capitol hill [movoto.com] and here is one for a typical zip code south of the river [movoto.com]. I'm going to guess that
    • In Boston it seems like they are a lot more open minded, except in area code 02126. Don't know what happened there.

      That is the ZIP code for Mattapan, MA. It is 77% African American.

      I have no idea what the personal preferences are of those residents, but I recall that there is little debate that homosexuality garners less acceptance in many visible black communities. Think of the "no homo" thing and the phenomenon of a "down low brotha" ("DLB") and the demographics of Prop 8 voting. My recollection is that t

  • Well, they *had* an interactive application that did this. Now it's a smouldering hunk.

  • by mforbes (575538) on Sunday January 10, 2010 @04:04AM (#30713284)

    Invasion of privacy or harmless voyeuristic fun?

    What invasion of privacy? They're not showing what any particular person rented, just what the aggregate in a given area liked. If this is invasion of privacy, then so is any demographic statistic saying, for instance, that New Yorkers like hot dogs from a stand on the street or the baseball stadium over that cooked at home.

    • Cool map....

      Not that there was evidence of it given:
      The shocking part would be that Netflix keeps track of an individuals rentals (possibly) and then creates thse maps based on those individuals histories. Again no proof but it concerns some.

      On a similar note
      In Canada the zip equivilant is the postal code.....postal codes often refer to only a handful of houses....so posting rentals based on postal codes + an individual knowning person x uses netflix = invasion of privacy.

      cc

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There is a theoretical max of 10^5 = 100,000 zip codes. There are roughly 10,000,000 Netflix subscribers, so if there were an even distribution, that would give about 100 subscribers per zip code. I suspect that this varies considerably, though I'm not sure which way things would swing among urban/suburban/rural. Urban has more alternatives but higher prices, suburban has social reclusiveness, but also sufficient disposable income for theaters, rural lacks theaters and conventional rental options, but ma

  • You could draw many fun, but useless conclusions from this data. This is probably the kind of info that sales pukes, marketing drones and security theater types drool over.
    Mad Men was only rented by those Hollywood types in Glendale and West LA
    Tyler Perry's chitlin flicks do well in South Central, Inglewood and Long Beach - why?
    Religulous' demographics proves that rich people really are godless.
    White people really liked Australia, but Vicky Cristina Barcelona is better than the US Census for racial profili

  • Could perhaps be explained by europeans using VPN accounts in these areas to access netflix.
    • Most of these films are only available through Netflix Mailing. Unless you can VPN a POBox then I doubt that's affecting much.

  • Look, I think this stuff is kinda interesting, but you need to be very careful with information visualisation of geographical regions. And some of this information is a little misleading.

    Some neighbourhoods are smaller in size (area) than others. If a neighbourhood is larger in area than another, a dominant colour (such as red!) will be highly dominant - not just because the movie is more popular - but because there is more red and the area is larger. This is a psychological thing; eyes are drawn to larg

  • note: this ranking is biased by instant viewing.

    "instant view" titles are those you watch on your computer (or roku or xbox or whatever). they are "second tier" movies only. but, because they are convenient, they got a TON more views than movies you have to actually get the CD mailed to you for.

    so, what you're seeing here is a hybrid list, with "top tier" movies vote counts watered down by over-counts of instant-play-ables.

    fwiw.

  • We love us some gay and lesbian movies.
  • I am in despair over the newspaper industry. The country and the world has needed news researchers, and over the last half-century that has been the province of big newspapers like the Times, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, and others.

    Lately, though, newspapers subscription rates have fallen dramatically, their income has fallen even faster, and they're all cut back on their research budgets.

    Here, though, we see a truly interesting tool, one that gives more insight the more one plays with it (as the

  • I'm not sure what you can reliably take away from these statistics. Since it is only rentals it excludes the following conditions:

    Did they go see it in the theater and now own the DVD? (will probably never rent)
    Did they go see it in theaters and didn't care for it? (will probably never rent)

    This means that the stats only capture those who
    1) Didn't see it in theaters - i.e. it wasn't a big deal to see it / they didn't consider it worth the ticket price
    2) Are curious enough about it to rent it later

    After ren

  • Most watched for 55450 is Battlestar Galactica season 3 and nothing else. It's the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport; on the map it's the empty grey area south of the cities. Maybe this is TSA homework?
  • Checkout 80225 in Denver - small grey square east of down town above the "L" for Lakewood. It looks like just one persons queue; titles from the same series, common sense of humour, etc... Plus, according to this random page [bestplaces.net] there's only one person living in that zip code. I think we have winner for this round of "thoughtless privacy invasion".
  • its information in aggregate. privacy implies PERSONALLY identifying information

    if i say "wilbur cross of madison wisconsin rented 'no country for old men'" then that's an invasion of privacy

    if i say "323 people in madison wisconsin rented 'no country for old men'" then there is no invasion of privacy

    its ok to get upset about invasion of privacy. getting upset about it when none actually occurs is some sort of spastic hysteria, a triumph of emotion over logic. save your ammo for real battles

HOLY MACRO!

Working...