Movie genome project Jinni raises $1.5M

Faith Merino · January 6, 2011 · Short URL:

The "taste-and-mood" site gets support from Belgacom and DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures

Jinni, the Pandora for movies, announced Wednesday evening that it has closed a $5 million Series B round of funding led by Belgacom and a “Tier-1 connected-TV manufacturer,” with help from previous investor DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures.

Jinni is the self-described first “taste-and-mood based guide for movies and TV”—which is not what it sounds like.  The first thought that came to my mind when I heard “taste-and-mood” was some kind of lickable TV screen.  That’s not what Jinni is.  Rather, Jinni is a personalized entertainment content site that uses what it calls the Entertainment Genome to determine what you would be interested in.

For example, when you go into any video rental store, you get a set array of categories: Drama, action, horror, kids, comedy, and sometimes documentary/indie, if you’re lucky.  But then there’s the typical couple’s back-and-forth:

"Let's watch Children of Men."

“I don’t want to watch a downer movie.”

“It’s not a downer movie, it’s thoughtful.”

“It looks depressing.”

“You look depressing!”

And so on and so forth. Jinni breaks movies down into much finer categories to meet different moods and tastes.  Want something thoughtful and uplifting?  How about “Amelie”!

On Jinni, movies are categorized and recommended according to their “genes,” which are grouped according to mood, plot, genres, time period, place, audience, praise, style, and attitudes.  Each group may contain a half-dozen genes. In the case of “Amelie,” for example, the style includes “surreal,” and “strong female role,” and the mood includes “feel good,” “sentimental,” “humorous,” “offbeat,” “stylized,” and “touching.”

“Our partnership with Jinni perfectly fits with Belgacom’s strategic objectives in TV and entertainment,” said Michel Georgis in a prepared statement.  Georgis is the executive vice president of the Consumer Business Unit of Belgacom, a telecom operator in Belgium.  “Technology is at its best when it is personalized and intuitively used by customers as with Jinni. Belgacom wants to leverage its broadband wireless and wireline networks for the benefit of all Belgian customers and provide them with more content and applications on all screens.” 

Netflix has a similar feature that recommends movies to customers based on their previous selections.  Jinni is much more comprehensive, though, showing not only the individual movie’s “genes” but also overviews, reviews, photos, cast and crew information, as well as comments and reviews from other Jinni members.  You can also connect Jinni to your Netflix account to allow you to order movies you find on Jinni.

The site also features a community where you can follow members or connect with “neighbors”—or members with movie personalities similar to yours. 

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