Akimbo Adds Filter to Navigate Flood of Entertainment

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Consumers can curate their own television programming with Web 2.0, but the vast volume of content makes the task daunting.

Video on-demand service provider Akimbo joins AOL, eMusic and Yahoo in tapping e-commerce navigation firm ChoiceStream for its collaborative filtering tool to help customers find sought-after content as well as to push more related content.

"Today, consumers want to program their own entertainment, and there are thousands of channels with thousands of programs to choose from," said Josh Goldman, CEO at Akimbo, San Mateo, CA. "The two trends together drive the need for discovery tools."

The online video provider lets consumers download movies, television shows and other content to laptops, TVs and DVD players. On its Web site at http://www.akimbo.com/ or through a box on a customer's television, there is access to a collection of 14,000 videos, growing by 1,000 a month.

These films include content from major movie studios like Warner Brothers and television partners like CNN, National Geographic and The Cartoon Network as well as programming from major sports leagues. Many independent films and smaller, user-created content also are available.

To make this library more navigable and to give new products more exposure, Akimbo is using ChoiceStream's collaborative filtering tool. The tool works similarly to recommendations on Amazon or Netflix. Each customer has a personalized page, and that customer's click-through behavior and purchase history are measured. This data yield suggestions for other films that the customer might like. Also, the first-time user page contains a survey for new customers to create a profile of likes and dislikes.

Like Amazon, a review page lets users write opinions on movies and television shows seen. But the technology goes further with a community feature, where fans of particular genres or friends from offline can meet up and leave comments.

"On Amazon, user reviews are blind," said Steve Johnson, CEO at ChoiceStream, Cambridge, MA. "On ChoiceStream, you can read a profile of the person writing the review. You might not have the same taste as everyone else, and this way you can see who this person is and consider their recommendation from there."

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