fflick.com - new approach to tv recommendations or just a piece in the puzzle?

written by: Paul Johnson

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Did you know that almost 75% of the people who have posted one of the 800,000 tweets about the film Inception, had something positive to say about it.

Did you also know that Toy Story 3 has generated over 1 million tweets and 99% popularity across the twitterverse.

And finally people seem to be most excited about 3 films coming soon to the cinemas:  'The Disappearance of Alice Creed", "Tron Legacy" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

I found these snippets out after spending 5 minutes on a new Film review service called fflick.com

They have launched a new site which on first impressions looks really interesting.  This is what we have learned from the founders on their blog:

"fflick is a place where you can find out what movies your friends are talking about. Don’t care what your friends think? How about hearing what Roger Ebert is saying? Or Kim Kardashian? Or Taylor Swift? If you prefer computers to humans, then we’ve also got you covered - we’ve written some pretty awesome software to read what the entire world is saying about movies, and then we give the movie a score based on that. How do we know what people are saying about movies? Right now, we’re using Twitter.

Millions of people already have created public accounts on Twitter which means their data is already on fflick. Weather it is a movie criticcelebrity, or your friends — all of these people already have a profile on fflick.  In fact, if you have a Twitter account, you can check out what you’ve been saying about movies.

What’s coming next? Well, we’ve just launched and we’ve got a lot of ideas, but we thought we’d let people play around with the site for awhile. So This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." mce_' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy6354 + '\'>'+addy_text6354+'<\/a>'; //--> and what you’d like to see.



So what are the key features of fflick ?
  • Personal recommendations based upon who you follow on twitter and their own sentiment towards the film.
  • General recommendations based upon everyones sentiment towards the film.
  • Most popular film titles based upon number of tweets.
  • Analysis of all tweets based upon the positive or negative sentiment of the film - so you get an idea of what people are thinking about the films themselves.
  • Different views for films that are currently out at the cinemas, those that are coming to a cinema soon, or films that will be coming to the cinema later in the year.

So what makes fflick think they are on to something ?

Recommendation and Discovery has become a fascinating area that will be part of our tv future.  A lot of effort is piling in to developing new ways to drive recommendations as part of discovering tv and film content - new datasets that add different dimensions to the same bit of content, EPGs are being overhauled to display this extra info, social tv applicatons are emerging that will either help you discover things to watch based upon contextual data (e.g. Rovi, Jinni, Google TV, RottenTomatoes, Netflix, LOVEFiLM, etc) OR social data (Clicker, Miso, Tunerfish, Philo, Hunch…).

These are of course in addition to the traditional ways in which we currently provide social recommendations ie. through ratings and user generated or editorial reviews.  When you consider that ratings have tended to be a skewed because people have a tendency to only submit a rating when they either absolutely loved it, or absolutely hated it…there is no middle ground to balance out the insights which tend to make them a little one dimensional.

What sets fflick apart from what we have seen before, is that it doesnt need people to do any more than they would already do.  It doesnt need you to 'check in' to a film and add a comment to score trophies and badges.  Whatever you post to twitter will automatically contribute to the community of sentiment that fflick is collating.

In fact if you are a subscriber to the UK equivalent of Netflix, and have set up twitter sharing on a LOVEFiLM.com account, you dont even need to send a tweet yourself...it will automatically send tweets to twitter and fflick when you watch or rate a film title…a great example of how 'passively social' these types of discovery and recommendation technologies could become.

On first impressions, fflick is a nice looking design which is easy to navigate around, and it really does give you an opportunity to explore and discover films you would not necessarily have seen, by reading what the twitterverse is saying.

As far as information that will help me decide what film to try out, they have built a site that offers it in tweet bucket loads.  The only real thing that lets it down in my opinion is when you select the 'Showtime' or 'Buy a Cinema ticket' options it takes you off to other sites - a missed revenue opportunity for them?

It is still early days in terms of seeing if they can successfully monetise fflick.com, and they are entering an emerging market which is rapidly becoming fragemented, however they are taking a slightly different approach to recommendations and could well have an important part to play in the future of media discovery and recommendation.

Their main strengths seem to be their UI and their in house 'Sentiment Engine' which is the core of their platform, and the engine that turns the millions of tweets posted every day into social insights on specific Films.

Their main weakness is that it can be replicated by other players as it is simply using Twitter data which is open to anyone to use - a simiple twitter search on 'Inception' brought back a stream of tweets that I could get my own sentiment from.

Also, there are already a couple of other similar services around including moovee.me and mombo.com, which means that this could be an area that differentiates them from the rest of the social recommendation players such as Miso and Philo, or it just gets absorbed in to being part of it….whatever 'it' eventually becomes !

  • Have come across any other similar services?  Then let us know.
  • Have you tried fflick out for yourself?  Then let us know what you think.
  • Would you go to the cinema because a perfect stranger told you it was "awesome…"?
  • Does fflick have a business model or just a good idea that will be picked up by all the other players?

Finally, according to fflick from my own tweets, I want to watch 'Fantastic Mr Fox' (for my kids and it was one of favorite books as a youngster!) and I gave 'Hear About the Morgans?" half a star out of 5 (my wife made me watch it and I wasnt allowed to give it a zero!) - reassuringly, everyone else on twitter who has posted a tweet, which is now on show at fflick shares the same sentiment - 18,000 tweets for 'Hear About The Morgans' scores a lowly 25%, whilst 35,000 tweets for 'Fantastic Mr Fox' scores 75% for positive sentiment…!

Paul is a founding Director at Montgomery Aston and has been specialising in making sense and acting upon the convergent areas of Media, Communications and Consumer Management for the past 15 years.  @mediadventurer | www.montyaston.com

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