Social-media monitoring for cold-start recommendations

Generating personalized movie recommendations to users is a problem that most commonly relies on user-movie ratings. These ratings are generally used either to understand the user preferences or to recommend movies that users with similar rating patterns have rated highly. However, movie recommenders are often subject to the ColdStart problem: new movies have not been rated by anyone, so, they will not be recommended to anyone; likewise, the preferences of new users who have not rated any movie cannot be learned. In parallel, Social-Media platforms, such as Twitter, collect great amounts of user feedback on movies, as these are very popular nowadays. This thesis proposes to explore feedback shared on Twitter to predict the popularity of new movies and show how it can be used to tackle the Cold-Start problem. It also proposes, at a finer grain, to explore the reputation of directors and actors on IMDb to tackle the Cold-Start problem. To assess these aspects, a Reputation-enhanced Recommendation Algorithm is implemented and evaluated on a crawled IMDb dataset with previous user ratings of old movies, together with Twitter data crawled from January 2014 to March 2014, to recommend 60 movies affected by the Cold-Start problem. Twitter revealed to be a strong reputation predictor, and the Reputation-enhanced Recommendation Algorithm improved over several baseline methods. Additionally, the algorithm also proved to be useful when recommending movies in an extreme Cold-Start scenario, where both new movies and users are affected by the Cold-Start problem.

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