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Netflix will pay film nerds to watch and analyze movies

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How many hours of Netflix do you watch a week? Do you find yourself scrolling through the site’s vast ocean of titles, playing Goldilocks? This one’s too long, that one’s too sad, this one’s too European. If so, Netflix might want to pay you to watch movies.

While the company relies heavily on member reviews and personal recommendations to shape feedback, they also have a “tagger” program, which involves roughly 40 volunteers who view titles in the Netflix database, and tag them with words that describe the film, like “dark,” “emotional,” or “cerebral.”

Todd Yellin, Netflix’s VP of Product Innovation, came up with the tagging program nearly a decade ago, when he first came on board. Back then, recommendations were based solely on those member star ratings. He told Techradar that "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."

They're currently in recruitment mode. Today, Netflix released a promotional video in an effort to, for the first time, recruit taggers in the U.K. and Ireland and expand its cultural scope. The job listing states:

”Successful applicants will be responsible for watching and analyzing films and TV programmes that will be streaming on Netflix in the future. The tagger will deconstruct the films and programmes and describe them using objective tags.

This “tagging process” is the first stage of the Netflix recommendation system and works in concert with advanced algorithms that generate highly personalized suggestions for every one of Netflix’s nearly 50 million members, offering them an individualized set of titles matching their tastes.”

Those with a background in film are encouraged to apply, and you can work from home. Sounds like a dream job, right?  Now if only they could hire someone to keep me awake for the first 10 minutes of a movie I spent 30 minutes picking. Or, better yet, a soothsayer who knows exactly what I want to watch. 

Illustration by Jason Reed