Movie Recommender System for Profit Maximization

Azaria, Amos (Bar Ilan University) | Hassidim, Avinatan (Bar Ilan University) | Kraus, Sarit (Bar Ilan University) | Eshkol, Adi (Viaccess-Orca) | Weintraub, Ofer (Viaccess-Orca) | Netanely, Irit (Viaccess-Orca)

AAAI Conferences 

Traditional recommender systems try to provide users with recommendations which maximize the probability that the user will accept them. Recent studies have shown that recommender systems have a positive effect on the provider’s revenue. In this paper we show that by giving a different set of recommendations, the recommendation system can further increase the business’ utility (e.g. revenue), without any significant drop in user satisfaction. Indeed, the recommendation system designer should have in mind both the user, whose taste we need to reveal, and the business, which wants to promote specific content. In order to study these questions, we performed a large body of experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. In each of the experiments, we compare a commercial state-of-the-art recommendation engine with a modified recommendation list, which takes into account the utility (or revenue) which the business obtains from each suggestion that is accepted by the user. We show that the modified recommendation list is more desirable for the business, as the end result gives the business a higher utility (or revenue). To study possible longterm effects of giving the user worse suggestions, we asked the users how they perceive the list of recommendation that they received. Our findings are that any difference in user satisfaction between the list is negligible, and not statistically significant. We also uncover a phenomenon where movie consumers prefer watching and even paying for movies that they have already seen in the past than movies that are new to them.