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IamA Netflix Employee AM(A)A

Aug 12th 2016 by netflixandreal • 49 Questions • 86 Points

I work at Netflix. I noticed an employee did an AMA over a year ago and deleted all their answers, which I was curious about! So I thought I'd do one.

There are a couple things I can't talk about, though I doubt any of them will be something people will ask about, so the (A) in the title is mostly a technicality.

I've worked here as an engineer for about half a year and feel comfortable answering questions. The one thing I have to point out is that this is obviously not an official AMA so I am never representing Netflix itself with my answers, just an employee of the company and my personal perspective.

PROOF

Q:

Do you get a free subscription for working at Netflix?

A:

Nope. It's like ten bucks a month or something, they pay us more than enough that we can afford our own sub. The infrastructure we'd have to build to provide free subs to employees would cost more than its worth.

Also making us pay for it is a small "eat your own dog food" thing.


Q:

why do i have to finish the end credits before Netflix considers a movie viewed? If i stop the movie at the start of the end credits, they appear again as an unfinished movie. It's nothing major but mildly annoying especially if my playlist goes longer.

A:

I find this super annoying too. Sorry. We try to autodetect where the credits are but sometimes this process doesn't work. There are too many movies/shows to do this manually. We just need to improve that tech.


Q:

What's wrong with something like 90% of the movie watched = movie watched?

A:

If you stop a movie without watching the ending and it didn't come up on the "Continue Watching" section and you had to hunt it down that would be even more annoying. Especially since you were ready to finish off the ending.


Q:

How about if only x percent left have pop up asking to count as watched or leave marker in place. Then it is user driven. Or just see if a majority of viewers stops at around the same time it should go to a user review. Heck you could probably offer a small group a silly bonus like access to Netflix shows a day or two early in exchange for telling you where the credits are in 10 or so movies

A:

We usually find that asking users to do things results in them not doing them. But that's not a bad idea, especially considering how frustrating the experience can be right now.

As for the second idea, I think it would just annoy those people who didn't want to do the work but wanted to watch the shows early. We like to stay away from that kind of "incentive" stuff. The idea is that we should be providing the best possible service to you, without any incentives. In this case we're failing and should fix it!


Q:

I rate and rate and rate things and I still get recommended shows/movies I hate even after rating them a 1. Will there ever be a "don't show me this again" option?

Also been a subscriber since nearly the start when it was just DVD's. Love Netflix, people are crazy for complaining about the slight price increase. I've never had a problem, customer service has always been awesome. Even when 8 DVD's were stolen from our mailbox.

A:

There's been some internal discussion of a "don't show me this again" option. We're frustrated too, same thing happens to me and other employees. It's hard because our current system works really well 9/10 times, but that 1/10 can be very frustrating. We want to fix the problem without also weakening the algorithm.

Also been a subscriber since nearly the start when it was just DVD's. Love Netflix, people are crazy for complaining about the slight price increase. I've never had a problem, customer service has always been awesome. Even when 8 DVD's were stolen from our mailbox.

Glad to hear it. Seriously, people got so bent out of shape over the price increase but Netflix is such a great deal. I would pay way more for it. And I definitely though that long before I worked here.


Q:

What are the dirty sides you see with the company(Dark Secrets)?

A:

I really like working here! There aren't a ton of problems. Two things:

1) This is true of Silicon Valley as a whole, but coming from a small town out of state, I'm a little sickened at the financial disparity here. Netflix pays their engineers a ton, but so many people here are incredibly poor and working as janitors, cleaning people, etc, for nearly minimum wage. There's so much wealth on display! Again, not really a Netflix-specific problem, and I would say Netflix treats all employees better than some other companies might.

2) Netflix will do anything to increase the amount of time you spend on our site. There are many little "tricks" we use to get you watching as long as possible, like the autoplay after the episode ends, the apparent limited selection, etc. There's never any thought put into what happens if someone is watching too much.

If I think of anything else I'll reply.


Q:

the apparent limited selection

I knew you bastards fully understood how horrible the layout is... unless the goal is to confuse everyone and have them browse longer, you sneaky beautiful bitches.

A:

Yes, we understand! But it's not to get you to browser longer... we limit the selection so that you browse less and just watch something, dammit! The entire goal is to get you watching by any means necessary. If people wouldn't be annoyed by us just playing something moment you went to netflix.com we would just do that.


Q:

There's never any thought put into what happens if someone is watching too much

What about the "Are you still watching ___" messages?

A:

That's not to prevent people from watching a lot. It won't come up if they move the mouse or pause or something. It only comes up if we get no user input. We just don't want to waste both our and the customer's bandwidth if they walked away for a long time.


Q:

That message always felt like Netflix's way of telling me "I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed in you".

Stop judging me! You don't know me! You don't know my life! You're not my mother!!

Sheesh, just let a woman sit and watch 7 episodes in a row without moving a single muscle for once...

A:

Isn't it comforting that we are not judging you and are merely trying to save us both bandwidth money? Trust me, Netflix loves its heavy watchers.


Q:

Well that is a little comforting, thank you.

Might I suggest rephrasing the message to "Congratulations, you just levelled up! You are now Netflix Level 36! Press play to continue"

A:

Depending on the device you're watching on, we might not be able to change it any more. But I actually will try to remember to tell someone that the message might make some users feel bad! We don't want that at all.


Q:

Can you add a "play any move with 3.8+ stars that isn't scary, was released after 2003, and doesn't have Adam Sandler in it" button?

A:

Hah. People are real salty about the Sandler movies but they actually perform really well from a numbers perspective. I don't care for them myself, I just watch something else.

I'm surprised that you're getting a lot of pre-2003 stuff, though. I would have expected "play any move with 3.8+ stars that isn't scary, isn't a Netflix Original, and doesn't have Adam Sandler in it" which would make more sense.

I would suggest being more aggressive with rating things after you watch them. Or maybe start a new profile? Maybe you shared it with someone else who likes pre-2003 scary movies?


Q:

Why not make a choose your own button. Kind of like amazons shopping filters. You choose (or limit) genre, score, production date, studio, etc. Then have an optoon to pick a random one, or it just produces a list to pick from.

A:

Typically, the more buttons and options we give people, the less they watch. It seems counter-intuitive which is why it took such a long time for Netflix to figure that out. Google "Paradox of Choice."

Also, I love Amazon as a shopping site and am personally a fan, but their UI is not something I'd want Netflix to emulate...


Q:

Why am I sometimes able to view Netflix test footage, such as the very long video of the fountain?

A:

Someone made a mistake configuring the footage. It's not really a big deal, right? Enjoy all those changing pixels!

The real mistake was when we accidentally published House of Cards Season 3 early. :(


Q:

What's up with the new releases section having stuff that's been on Netflix for quite some time?

A:

I'm not intimately familiar with how those algorithms work, but my guess is one of two things are happening:

1) Those titles were on the service, left, and came back and hence are considered new.

2) Or we don't really care about accuracy to the category name and are putting a title there because we think you are more likely to click it. Did... did it work?


Q:

Not really, because I watched House of Cards when it came out

A:

Oh, if it was House of Cards, maybe a new season or a season you haven't watched.

If that's not the case... I guess we screwed up? Sorry.


Q:

What would you do if you were in charge of the company?

A:

This company is not perfect but I have no doubt that Reed Hastings is doing a much better job than I ever could. I'm 100% sure about that.

That said, I would probably not be as hesitant about adding "fun" features to the user experience. I think there's a lot of interesting social stuff that can be done in the interface. Also getting rid of the stars rating system! Like or dislike forever.

Internally, I would crack down a bit on the ridiculous spending that's occurring everywhere. There's very little fiduciary oversight and I get the reason for that but it needs to change.


Q:

Favourite show on Netflix right now?

A:

I just watched both Bo Burnham specials we have and thought they were awesome! But that's not a show. Will I sound like a shill if I say Stranger Things?


Q:

Will we ever see Star Wars on Netflix?

A:

I'm pretty sure that's happening pretty soon. We have a deal with Disney now, who owns Star Wars. Maybe Star Wars is not included in that but I have no reason to believe that. Probably coming soon!


Q:

Is there any way to filter by length? So often I just want to watch something less than an hour long.

A:

You can't filter by anything! Sorry.


Q:

when is Frank OCean's album coming out?

A:

I hope its not January. That's our best month!


Q:

As an engineer i assume you make good money, where in the Bay do you live? and coming from a small town like me, how are you adapting to the Bay so far? there are so many people that come out here and leave after a year or so mainly because the cost of living =/= average salary in most places. are you payed well enough to not have that issue or are you in the south bay sharing a home with 5 other people?

A:

As an engineer i assume you make good money, where in the Bay do you live?

Netflix pays very well. I live in San Jose.

and coming from a small town like me, how are you adapting to the Bay so far?

It's kinda crazy. So much money concentrated in specific spots. Wealth disparity. There are so many people here, between San Jose and San Francisco, there's always something happening, which is cool but it can be overwhelming.

are you payed well enough to not have that issue or are you in the south bay sharing a home with 5 other people?

Netflix pays top 10% of market so I am lucky enough not to have that problem. If I was making less, there are apartments that are pretty affordable, they're just in higher-crime areas with worse school districts.


Q:

I work at one of the big studios. Which studio is the most organized and is easiest/pleasant to work with?

A:

Well, we're our own studio, which obviously has major advantages. And I'm just an engineer, so anything I hear is third-party. Obviously there's been a lot of internal celebration about the Disney deal, though that doesn't mean it was easy.

There's no "bad guy" that I've heard of. We're usually realistic enough to realize that studios just want to get the best deal for their content.

I will say that the nice thing about other studios is that we just buy the content for a specific amount of time and the deal is done or rejected. Working with our internal studio is actually harder because they often demand we do things that we would never do for an external studio.


Q:

How do I get my movie on Netflix?

A:

Find a distributor and tell them you'd like to put your movie on Netflix. Any distributor will know how to make that happen.


Q:

1) Can you share any tangible metrics with us in terms of how popular something is on Netflix? Like, how many people actually watch these Adam Sandler atrocities? I hate it when Netflix is vague in saying something like "Oh, it was #1 the week it came out!" - is that relevant if something like OINTB is 10x more popular at launch?

2) How happy is Netflix with Fuller House's performance, if you know?

3) Does Netflix add servers/ect to cope with the possibility of a large number of viewers for a popular show to stem possible traffic issues on their popular shows?

4) If you could estimate for us what Netflix's most popular shows are (of all the ones they've made so far), which ones would they be?

5) How does Netflix feel right now about the reception for Stranger Things?

A:

1) Can you share any tangible metrics with us in terms of how popular something is on Netflix? Like, how many people actually watch these Adam Sandler atrocities? I hate it when Netflix is vague in saying something like "Oh, it was #1 the week it came out!" - is that relevant if something like OINTB is 10x more popular at launch?

Ding ding ding! You found one of the three things I cannot talk about. Sorry about that. I can get these numbers but I don't look on purpose so that I can't accidentally divulge it!

2) How happy is Netflix with Fuller House's performance, if you know?

Similar to a Sandler situation, in that it did not do well critically and gets made fun of, but did really well for us.

3) Does Netflix add servers/ect to cope with the possibility of a large number of viewers for a popular show to stem possible traffic issues on their popular shows?

We have a system that does this automatically. It always keeps enough buffer so that if there's a sudden surge in traffic there's enough capacity to spin up more servers automatically. No manual intervention required!

4) If you could estimate for us what Netflix's most popular shows are (of all the ones they've made so far), which ones would they be?

You're really walking a fine line with what I can and can't talk about! Hah. I don't look at the numbers, on purpose, because I'm not allowed to talk about them. It's public information that Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, and the Sandler movies are all extremely popular.

5) How does Netflix feel right now about the reception for Stranger Things?

We are just enjoying the show along with everyone else. Of course we're happy! I think everyone is upset with the long wait for the next season.


Q:

Do the customer service people on the chat section work remotely from home, or are they all in office cubicles? I'm curious because both times I used the netflix support chat I was pleasantly surprised by how laid back and humorous the support people were... I felt like I was talking to a smart person comfortable at home in their pyjamas, not someone stuffed in a call centre room trying to maximize the number of responses they could churn out per minute.

A:

I saw a number on this the other day, I forget exactly what it was, but we do something like 60% internal support and 40% outsourced. If you get someone internal, they're just regular American employees. For sure there is someone in charge of that program that is cultivating that attitude in our service reps. Netflix has little interest in frustrating you, and would rather just ensure nothing ever happened to force you to contact customer service. That's the best way to reduce costs. And when you do call, pay the customer service reps enough to provide good service so that you're less likely to cancel.


Q:

Why is it that Netflix will add a sequel to a movie, but not the original?

A:

Yeah, I'm with you. Bizarre. Not really sure what happened there, probably too expensive, but still. Just weird. It's been brought up internally.


Q:

ELI5 the rating system, please?

A:

Briefly, "the ratings are made up and the points don't matter!"

Seriously, the ratings have exactly two purposes:

1) If you rate highly, we know you liked it. We consider this and try to figure out what else you might like based on similar titles, and other people who rate similar to you. Same if you rate low except we try to not to show you similar titles.

2) When you're looking at ratings before watching something, we show you how much we think you'll like something, and we keep all the numbers high so that you're more likely to click


Q:

What can we do to ensure that Netflix is able to secure more content with contract renewals or new contracts?

A:

Um, don't use Hulu/Amazon Prime I guess. If those services die it will become much easier for us to get content. Obviously this isn't gonna happen, so we'll just have to keep doing our best.

Also complain less about price increases. The more we increase the price the more we can buy. All that money goes right back into the content. Netflix has been successful but not very profitable!


Q:

Why is there never anything to watch on Netflix?

A:

Brutal! Just watch Adam Sandler movies until they become bearable.


Q:

Can you create a filter to exclude all "documentaries" by The History Channel?

A:

That's weirdly specific. No! Just one-star all of them. There's some reason the algorithms thinks you'd like them. Maybe you should try to watch a few?


Q:

Are we ever going to be able to use Netflix with a VPN again?

A:

Not if we can help it! We obviously don't want to stop proxies and VPNs, we don't care where you are as long as you pay. But our content providers are refusing to sell content to us if we don't stop it. Sorry!


Q:

as long as you pay

But because you stopped it I now don't pay after paying for years. So it didn't work!

But our content providers are refusing to sell content to us if we don't stop it

So catch 22 then....

Obviously the solution is convince your content providers that the very idea of regional restrictions is old fashioned and signing deals for content to be available worldwide to begin with. The very fact that bypassing the regional restrictions became so widespread should be a clue to the content providers....

A:

Well, unfortunately they were unwilling to be convinced. So we were faced with losing some subscriptions while keeping the vast majority happy with the content we were getting. We did what we had to do. Meanwhile we haven't stopped trying to convince the studios to do things differently.

In a lot of cases, it's also not a matter of convincing them. Let's say Distributor A only distributes movies in the US, and Distributor B distributes only in the EU, and Distributor C only in Asia. Now you're a movie director who made a movie and want to both make the most money possible and also get the most people to see it. You make a deal with each of these distributors in their discreet territories. Now Distributor B comes to Netflix and says they'll sell the content for a certain price. Netflix accepts and shows the movie worldwide. Distributor A sees this and sues Netflix (or Distributor B, I'm not a lawyer). So it just won't work because of the lack of worldwide distributors.

Or sometimes a worldwide distributor only buys the rights in one region because they don't think it's worth it for another region, but a different distributor think they can make it work in that region. In these situations, there's no one to convince. It's a legal issue.


Q:

You've only been there a short time, but have you heard anything about the removal of the community features years ago? Like the reasons for why it was done? Was it a customer service nightmare? Were people complaining of being harassed? I and others like viewing and reviewing, and the way the interface set up now makes it kind of pointless.

A:

All of the above, but probably more so than any of that (which can be fixed), it tended to stop people from actually watching content. Our ultimate goal is to get you watching, anything that gets in the way of that usually gets thrown to the curb.


Q:

What do you like the most about working at Netflix?

A:

From a post above:

I really like the culture. In a sentence, employees are treated like adults, not kids who need to be watched all the time.


Q:

1) Internally/unofficially, what is the companies view of people using VPN's and the like to bypass regional restrictions?

I have always been under the impression that while of course officially they have to be against it and be seen to prevent it in order to keep content providers happy, the reality was a customer bypassing the restrictions and having access to a larger library meant they were more likely to use the service and remain subscribed, so it wasn't something they were trying too hard to prevent.

Certainly when I contacted netflix support once it was obvious they were well aware I was bypassing regional restrictions, yet they didn't seem that bothered and never took any action/cancelled my account.

2) What changed for them to suddenly crackdown on VPN's etc a few months back - was it pressure from content providers?

This along with a price rise a month later (Feedback: bad timing when I was still sour from the VPN crackdown!) was what ultimately led to me cancelling the membership I'd had for years.

3) Probably an obvious question, but I'll ask in case I'm missing something. If Netflix could, would they prefer that regional restrictions weren't a thing, and their full library was available everywhere?

4) I was surprised that when I cancelled that I wasn't asked why I was cancelling nor was there any ability to provide comments or feedback - this was unusual and frustrating. Why does Netflix not solicit why a customer is cancelling? (like every other company I've ever known!) Surely this is information that is useful to the company?

A:

1) Internally/unofficially, what is the companies view of people using VPN's and the like to bypass regional restrictions?

You nailed it. Internally, we actually really don't want to restrict anyone from anything. If you're paying us, we're happy to provide you with all the content we can. But the problem is that VPNs and proxies were getting so common that it was hurting us in negotiations with content providers. So we had to do something, but we sure don't like it.

2) What changed for them to suddenly crackdown on VPN's etc a few months back - was it pressure from content providers?

Yep. I don't know if there was a specific incident, but we were told it was causing real problems that were costing us content.

The fact that the price increase happened at the same time was incidental -- the increase had been planned for a long time. We learned a lesson there. You're right, bad idea.

3) Probably an obvious question, but I'll ask in case I'm missing something. If Netflix could, would they prefer that regional restrictions weren't a thing, and their full library was available everywhere?

YES. This is an actual goal at content aquisition and we have internal metrics tracking how close we are. Our goal is to get there one day.

4) I was surprised that when I cancelled that I wasn't asked why I was cancelling nor was there any ability to provide comments or feedback - this was unusual and frustrating. Why does Netflix not solicit why a customer is cancelling? (like every other company I've ever known!) Surely this is information that is useful to the company?

You may have been part of a weird A/B test. We usually do ask for feedback. We do a lot of testing with our cancellation process for obvious reasons, you must have been hit by that. We try to make it as easy to cancel as possible, maybe the test is to see if you're more likely to come back if we made the process even easier.


Q:

Thanks I really appreciate the reply.

It's good to know that I had the right idea.

We try to make it as easy to cancel as possible, maybe the test is to see if you're more likely to come back if we made the process even easier.

Feedback: Actually the reverse was true. I clicked the cancel button and the impression I was given was one of 'Fine, there's the door, see yourself out'. I actually vowed there and then, if that's how little you care about me cancelling a subscription I've kept up continuously for years then I won't be coming back!

A:

Yeah, looks like it definitely misfired there. Sorry. Netflix definitely does care, you pay our bills. There's so much negative press out there about hard-to-cancel services being frustrating and Netflix is pretty proud of how easy they make it. It sucks that we didn't give you an opportunity to tell us why you cancelled!


Q:

When can we Get ER added to streaming? Love that show. Also, tacos or pizza?

A:

No idea about ER, sorry.

I used to like pizza a lot more when I was on the east coast... Pizza in Cali sucks, but the tacos are amazing!


Q:

Why don't we (Slovenia) have the same content as US, yet we pay the same price?

A:

The pricing issue was a hard one. The current thinking is that if you don't feel its worth it, you won't pay. So we will focus on adding more content to your country if there are a lot of people with Netflix devices/computers who aren't paying. But if 50% or whatever of the Netflix-enabled population is paying, then we're providing good value even with less content (maybe because your other options are even worse). This sounds a bit ugly ("let's take advantage of those people over there who have no good options") but the alternative is that we need to figure out how much to charge in every country, which would take a huge amount of work. We can barely do it right in the US.

We just need to add more content internationally, and that's happening. The situation will only get better!


Q:

First off, thanks for doing this AMA!

Somewhat unrelated, but what did you study in school and what other types of jobs did you have before working for Netflix? Obviously be as vague as you need to be for personal reasons, I'm just interested in your progression to working for such a great company.

A:

I've been programming since I was little. I dropped out of college after a year. I was very, very lucky to get a job as a helpdesk guy at a small company, but lucky that my title was "Engineer" even though we weren't supposed to write code. I was referred to the company by a family friend. I learned everything I could about programming from programmers around me and got super lucky again when another family member recommended me for a real programming job at a larger company. I worked there for a while and then moved to another company now that I had a lot of experience under my belt.

I now have over ten years of real-world experience and when someone I knew at Netflix reached out I jumped at the opportunity. Definitely a lot of luck in that journey, but also I legitimately believe I worked hard to learn my craft, and to get to know people who like to work with me, both of which were as important as those family friends who believed in me in the beginning.


Q:

What's the tech stack like at Netflix? Also, what's your primary ide?

A:

The teams here are very independent, so there's no mandated stack or IDE, but we have something we call the "paved road" meaning the easiest way to get started on a project because we already have tools that work with a particular stack.

The most popular IDE is definitely IntelliJ IDEA. Also the one I use!

Currently Java and Groovy are the most popular, a lot of Grails apps. Everything is a microservice, we have a vast map of internal services that do lots of tiny jobs. So usually your project exposes an API and consumes lots of other internal APIs.

The most popular data storage is Cassandra, though ElastiCache is popular and there are some Redis and MySQL installs too.

Javascript is becoming more and more popular internally, so we have a new "paved road" for JS that includes NodeJS, React/Flux.


Q:

Another question based on your replies

Why is you like your 'heavy watchers'? You said that the price you pay for content is based on the anticipated number of views. Heavy watches therefore increase this number (applicable when you come to renew content and actual view numbers can seen) and there cost you more for content. And of course they cost you more bandwidth. Surely your 'best' customer is one who continues to subscribe, but rarely watches anything?

A:

Sorry, I think I didn't make it clear why the amount we pay for content is based on the number of viewers. Before we buy anything, we need a way of measuring how effective purchasing content is, both original and non-original. Let's say a studio wants us to pay $10 for Inception. How can we tell if it's a good buy? Well, for us something's a good buy if it's more likely to get new subscribers, and existing subscribers to continue to sub.

How can we measure that? We can't, since we don't ask users why they're subbing or resubbing (not that they can even list every show they are subbing for). So instead we believe that the more time a user spends on Netflix the more they like it. That means watching shows/movies. Hence, we can judge how good a buy something was because we divide how much we spent on something by how many people watched it. The smaller that number the more "efficient" that buy was. For purchasing new stuff, we need to guess how many people will watch. Take all the money we have to buy content, then sort all the content for sale out there by that efficiency number, then buy all we can afford from the top of the list down. Make sense?


Q:

Makes sense, just one question:

Do you share (or are you pressured to share) your viewing numbers with content providers when you come to renew content? Or is it just used internally to decide if the price being negotiated is worth it?

A:

We don't share numbers. I won't say ever, I'm sure it's happened, and of course everyone wants to see our numbers, but it can only hurt, not help, negotiations.


Q:

In which case it makes total sense now. If you don't have to share the numbers, more views can't hurt, keeps people engaged, and gives you lots of metrics.

So bandwith use by your heavy users must not be a major concern then?

A:

Bandwidth costs money, sure, but we have a few ways to mitigate that (we have boxes with our most popular content sitting in internet providers' centers all over the country) but ultimately the happiness and continued subscription of the users is worth way more.


Q:

I'm curious about your technical knowledge and the systems used at Netflix. I know Netflix uses Cassandra for their personalization. Do you deal with this side of the business? What exactly are the distinctions in Netflix departments?

A:

I do deal with Cassandra! Here's an answer I posted above that I think answers your question but feel free to reply if you want more details:

The teams here are very independent, so there's no mandated stack or IDE, but we have something we call the "paved road" meaning the easiest way to get started on a project because we already have tools that work with a particular stack. The most popular IDE is definitely IntelliJ IDEA. Also the one I use! Currently Java and Groovy are the most popular, a lot of Grails apps. Everything is a microservice, we have a vast map of internal services that do lots of tiny jobs. So usually your project exposes an API and consumes lots of other internal APIs. The most popular data storage is Cassandra, though ElastiCache is popular and there are some Redis and MySQL installs too. Javascript is becoming more and more popular internally, so we have a new "paved road" for JS that includes NodeJS, React/Flux.


Q:

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A:

Jesus, did you people learn nothing from the grilled cheese post?


Q:

Why isn't there an "adult" version of Netflix?

I'm sure users would pay a monthly fee for adult movies.

A:

We try to do one thing really well. I won't say "never", but I doubt it'll ever happen. For one, think about Aunt Dorris, having gotten her new TV and thinking about signing up for Netflix, sees a headline in her newspaper that mentions "Netflix" in the same sentence as "porn." There could a huge negative PR backlash even if the site was totally separate. Second, we know this market well, and don't know the adult industry at all. And thirdly, and probably most important, the competition is intense and huge.


Q:

Youtube and Facebook have different definitions of what constitutes a view. What counts as a view in Netflix' book?

Also most viewed item in Netflix US and Canada?

A:

I don't remember the exact percentage of something you have to watch for it to be considered a view, and I think it actually depends on a couple factors. We don't have advertisers unlike YouTube or Facebook, so it's not super important exactly where we draw the line, as long as we're consistent internally.


Q:

Are there plans in place to be able to filter movies by rating? Also, why is House of Cards so damn good?

A:

I'm not sure if there are plans for ratings filters, probably not though, they don't like adding more UI elements.

As for House of Cards, I haven't seen it! I know, my co-workers all make fun of me.


Q:

It seems like the company only hires engineers that have over five years of experience. Do you guys still take candidates seriously if they have less than that?

A:

Not really. I mean, there's no hard cutoff, like "oh, four years and eleven months? Damn, good candidate but they don't make the cutoff" doesn't happen. It's a sliding scale. If you have no experience at all but the entire team knows you because you are some sort of insane prodigy... then maybe you have a chance (you'd need to provide you can get along with the rest of the team, and other personality things, but there's a chance).

The more experience you have the more likely you are for someone to reach out, but ultimately each team does their own hiring and makes their own decisions.

Netflix expects every employee to act independently without a lot of guidance, so having experience in the industry is the easiest way to obtain that sort of independent thinking and responsibility.