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Apple Bought Matcha for Its Content Recommendation Algorithms

Earlier this week, news broke that Apple acquired video discovery and recommendation startup Matcha.tv, a service designed to aggregate popular content from streaming video sites like Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to offer its users a list of content available across all of the services.

Details on the purchase have been scarce, but TechCrunch has provided some new information on why Apple decided to buy Matcha, pointing to its video recommendation algorithm as the reason behind the acquisition.

matcha
According to TechCrunch's sources, Matcha managed to hit the user engagement sweet spot, delivering the "right content to the right users" and outperforming competing apps like Dijit and Squrl. Before being shut down, Matcha was ranked as one of the top 15 apps in the Entertainment section of the App Store charts and was experiencing a sharp rise in user growth.
It was Matcha's user acquisition and user engagement strategy that Apple was interested in, according to one of our sources, since the acquisition happened just after Matcha had completed a round of vigorous A/B testing and had “found the answer” to rapid user growth and time spent in app. Matcha's pairing algorithms that drove the right content to the right users simply worked best of any other apps competing in that space, the source affirms.
Matcha was originally purchased back in May, before its recommendation site was shut down and its app was pulled from the App Store. It was also reportedly acquired for $10 to $15 million, rather than $1 to $1.5 million as was originally reported.

While Matcha's expertise aggregating recommendations from an array of content sources might immediately link its talents to the Apple TV, its notable content delivery algorithms could have a far broader application to facilitate improved recommendations and better content discovery across a number of Apple’s products, including the App Store.

Related roundup: Apple TV

Top Rated Comments

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13 months ago
i wish apple tv had porn
Rating: 19 Votes
13 months ago
And now no one will be able to use those wonderful algorithms for years while Apple works on integrating them into a product. Or forgets them behind the refrigerator.

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i wish apple tv had porn


it has airplay.
Rating: 7 Votes
13 months ago
Here's to hoping that Matcha's algorithms are better than the standard "People who watched Dexter also watched: Bambi, Lilo & Stitch, etc."
Rating: 6 Votes
13 months ago

Please let this be part of a massive Apple TV OS update on Sept. 10th...


Yeah, Sept 10th. 2019.
Rating: 6 Votes
13 months ago

I prefer porn on a smaller screen... and not in 3D.


Is this reverse psychology? 3D porn on a 65" HDTV is pretty nice... just saying.
Rating: 3 Votes
13 months ago

Apple decided to buy Matcha, pointing to its video recommendation algorithm


Who would have thought, huh?
Rating: 2 Votes
13 months ago

for just a couple algorithms? so did this put a bunch of people out of work?


You want to work in tech? Prepare for being out of work, but usually in periods of well-compensated unemployment. But there's another thing in tech: because it's developing so fast, it's a bit like the economy in the '60s: you can quit your job and find another, better one quickly. Take risks or go nowhere.

The usual thing they say about these purchases is, it's usually an investment in the people who made the first thing. Apple has no interest in what they were doing with the app, just in the matching algorithm. Since iTunes' searching is CRAP, that's a good idea. I'd expect improvements here quicker than you think.
Rating: 2 Votes
13 months ago
Don't underestimate the value of a really good recommendation algorithm, and the subjective insights of people who create & manage it. It's a hard problem which Amazon, Netflix, et al have put a lot of money into solving, with marginal results.
Rating: 2 Votes
13 months ago

I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED!!!!

Slow news day?


Slow clever and not overused comment day?
Rating: 2 Votes
13 months ago
During discussions of the acquisition at an Apple board meeting, Al Gore thought to himself that should he ever become a DJ, a good name for him would be DJ Algorhythm.
Rating: 2 Votes

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