Trying to figure out what film I want to watch at home from the thousands I can pick on various VOD services is a pain. The only thing more annoying is trying to find one that my husband and I can both agree we want to watch (love you, Marc). A app presented today at TC’s Disrupt Hackathon called Movie Nights has created a way to solve that problem: it lets two parties enter either preferences and presents a selection of films that might fit the bill.
“Our idea was to combine two different sets of preferences from people who can’t seem to find a compromise, and then draw out common threads,” one of the creators, Matt Dell, told me after his team presented the app today.
The app links up with the Rotten Tomatoes API, and at the moment its algorithms make suggestions based on film titles you input. You could also use actors, directors, genres and other parameters.
Although Rotten Tomatoes is strong also on current releases, Movie Nights sticks to those that are available on VOD services. “The problem we had with latest films is that you just don’t have a lot of choice,” Audrius Zujus, another of the app’s developers, told me.
The pair teamed up with two others, Elvia Vasconcelos and Yousuf Shaikh,to make Movie Nights. Between them they have skills in user experience, full stack stack developing, and iOS development — which in their normal lives they put to work at Deloitte Digital here in London.
There, they have worked on a bunch of apps and other services. “We try to stay away from big enterprise integrations,” Dell tells me, shrugging off the kind of projects you normally think of when you hear the phrase “management consultancy.”
Some of this has included a lot of experimenting with iBeacons. (When I talked to them after the presentation, it turns out that they were actually the team behind the very first iBeacon implementation in the UK, at Waitrose.)
It was some of that work in monitoring traffic in specific areas that had actually been the inspiration for the four coming to the Hackathon.
“We came here with very little idea of what we would do but had been vaguely thinking about some kind of app that would work with TFL,” said Zujus, referring to Transport for London, the organization that manages all public transport and traffic in London.
The interesting thing about Movie Nights is that the basic algorithms could not only be improved — with time, for example, with machine learning that could be trained to know particular users’ preferences — but they could very much be applied to entirely different categories.
“We used one of the APIs available here at the Hackathon but you could apply this to other things, like where to go for dinner,” Dell says. Add in technology to pinpoint specific locations and that could be a very interesting way for a couple or a group of friends to make a decision about where to meet to eat — giving a whole new meaning to “collaborative consumption” in the process.
Presentation video and Movie Nights’ own video below: