July 7, 2014
Netflix Wants To Pay A Few People To Watch TV And ‘Tag’ Titles
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe online
For many, a lazy Saturday on the sofa watching movies and TV shows seems the perfect way to unwind after a long week of work. Netflix, however, is looking for a couple of lucky individuals for whom this act of relaxation by tuning in and tuning out would actually be their work.
As reported by Engadget, the individuals ultimately selected will receive the job title of 'Tagger' and will be responsible for fine-tuning the fairly intuitive recommendation engine employed by the video-on-demand purveyor. Going above and beyond information gleaned by genre and user ratings, the Tagger will add as many as a hundred descriptive tags to a film, such as whether it takes place in space or underwater, if it is a cult classic or is excessively violent, and if it might appeal to a specific audience among other things. With decent pay, flexible hours and a free Netflix subscription, this job is about to make someone the envy of all their friends.
Speaking with techradar.com, Netflix VP of Product Innovation, Todd Yellin stated, “We see ourselves as a match making service, which means that we get to know our members and how they interact with our service.” The position of Tagger was brought to the company when Yellin joined the ranks almost a decade ago.
"When I came on board Netflix 8.5 years ago, our recommendations were reliant on how people rated titles,” Yellin explained. “The thing is, for some people, it is a bit of a nice challenge to give things a star rating but for a lot of our users they considered that work.
"We still offer ratings but it is not as important nowadays. The core stuff for us now is paying attention to what users watch. That can tell us how many categories they like so the tagging effort started heading in that direction."
Looking over the Netflix job posting, which is looking for someone living anywhere in the UK or Ireland, the company advises that potential candidates should be able to deconstruct certain films and programs that are meant to air in the future on the service. Once the Tagger breaks the movie down, they must then apply appropriate and objective tags to eventually aid in directing that viewing option to interested subscribers.
The company states they are looking for individuals who are detail-oriented, have a tenacious ability to follow-through on a project, possess great organizational skills and are movie and television content experts. This last point seems especially important to Yellin.
"I do consider myself to be a film geek and I am into a lot of the content on Netflix and that's what we want,” he stated. “What we are looking for is someone who is a real expert on movies on TV shows. They may have done script coverage for a production company or have been a film critic or someone who is just mad about movies.”
And speaking to the portability of the job, Yellin remarked, “It is a beautiful thing to be in a virtual world; you could be on an isolated farm or in a bustling city.”
The only other thing required for a potential job candidate is a reliable Internet connection.
All of the other 40-plus Taggers currently working for Netflix were recruited from the US. Expanding now to the UK and Ireland for their newest hires, Yellin hopes Netflix will be able to offer a deeper level of personalization for their customers based on tags that are more culturally aware.
"There are always different cultural subtleties and we want to capture this in the the UK," said Yellin, who is hoping that strengthening his tagger team will help Netflix to offer the right content to the right people, regardless of their gender, age, color or creed.
"It's funny. What we have found is that age and gender are weak signifiers for recommendations. The second we watch something - that is a much bigger signifier. Viewer behavior tells a story and there are people with an incredibly diverse taste, so we hope we get that from our taggers too,” Yellin conlcuded.