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May 24, 2005

Yahoo Debuts Personalized Movie Picks

Courtesy of InternetWeek

Yahoo Inc. on Tuesday started offering subscribers personalized recommendations for movies, DVDs and videos, furthering the portal's strategy of offering visitors products and services they would most likely buy.

The new service is part of Yahoo Movies's My Movies section and is powered by technology from ChoiceStream Inc., which also provides personalization technology for the portal's Gift Finder feature within its shopping site.

The latest feature is part of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo's overall strategy of trying to steer consumers to products and services. Such personalization is attractive to advertisers, the source of most of Yahoo's revenues.

"This was the logical next step, as we build out our suite of personalization services," Jed Rosenzweig, producer of Yahoo's My Movies, said. "It's indicative of what Yahoo has done across the board."

ChoiceStream's software analyzes reviews and studio descriptions in building movie profiles that are matched to Yahoo subscribers, based on their preferences and previous searches.

"What consumers get are the movies most relevant and most interesting and exciting to them on the front page of My Movies," Steve Johnson, chief executive of Cambridge, Mass.-based ChoiceStream, said.

Through Yahoo, subscribers can buy movie tickets, DVDs, or videos of their favorite films, as well as see trailers, get information and gossip on actors, and read reviews from critics or other subscribers.

The personalized recommendations include one-click access to local show times and tickets. The service also covers TV movies, and is tightly integrated with Yahoo Shopping for buying DVDs and videos.

The ChoiceStream-powered Gift Finder service, launched last month on Yahoo Shopping, recommends gifts based on the giver's description of the recipient. Those characteristics include age, gender, relationship to the user, lifestyle and the occasion for the gift.

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