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Comments: 695 • Responses: 96  • Date: 

SandD0llar2 karma

I'm curious where Netflix stands on subtitles/caption for the deaf? It was a real problem a few years ago - Netflix had difficulty in getting some movies - even the popular blockbuster ones - captioned. As I remember it, they claimed it was a license issue, which seemed a bit of a stretch.

As a nonsubscriber (for now), I haven't stayed up to speed on that issue. I'm considering subbing in the near future, though. But as deaf person, I'm hesitant to, if many shows and movies are still not being subtitled.

netflixandreal2 karma

I think we have subtitles for the vast majority of our content now. We did it as part of the internationalization push a year ago. I know english subtitles are not the same thing as closed captions for the deaf (although we might have those, too) but it's a huge step forward.

If you don't mind spending $10, I think you will be impressed with how much progress has been made there.

Akasazh2 karma

Hey there! On the subject of subtitles. My dad is Dutch but went on pension and lives in France. He likes to watch shows on netflix but he needs at least Dutch/English subs to follow most of the dialog. I set up a vpn for him so that he could watch Dutch netflix, for this sole reason.

After the VPN ban he's back to good old french netflix, unfortunately. Some show have subtitles in Dutch/English (maily the originals) but some films that have surely been shown in English (and even on Dutch netflix) only have French/Swedish subtitles available for some weird reason.

My dad would like to be able to select subs in his own language, or at least set a preference to filter out shows/films without Dutch or English subs. It's very hard for him when he's all like 'Hey that's a great movie to watch' and then it turns out it hasn't the correct subs.

netflixandreal4 karma

I think this is really interesting and will 100% bring this up with people internally. We're inconsistent with which subs we make available in a region, but generally it's the ones for that region plus maybe English. It'd be nice to have ALL subs that we have for all regions, but this is made harder by the fact that the same title in two regions might actually have different edits or be differently timed or have some other difference preventing us from just making all subs inter-compatible with the title. I hope that makes sense but I genuinely think this is the best idea to come out of this AMA. Will definitely be bringing it up and pushing hard for it.

chas00002 karma

My does my queue disappear from time to time?

netflixandreal2 karma

It shouldn't. Sounds like a bug. Contact customer service?

WhoseHouseBiffsHouse2 karma

Is there any possibility of a second tier subscription level, say $20 or $25 a month that would unlock a global catalog?

How I mean is that Netflix keeps its $10 per month for the domestic catalog that it has license to, and then takes the balance to compensate on the back end the other rights holders whose content is being distributed? So if I want to see a movie that is on the Netflix catalog in Colombia, but Shomi has the rights in Canada, Netflix takes a portion of that extra subscription fee to compensate Shaw/Rogers without the end user having to do anything?

JMO, and I realize it's more complicated than that, but speaking personally, I'd pay $25 a month for the global catalog, domestic rights holders still get paid and Netflix grows as a distribution platform. All around, it seems win win win.

netflixandreal4 karma

The higher-ups are considering pricing tiers but I don't think it's looking favorable. I don't think region-crossing is the primary benefit, though I'm not sure why... your plan seems reasonable. I don't know enough to say, those legal rights issues can get complex. I'll bring it up in an upcoming meeting.

Marimboo2 karma

When I'm using Netflix on my iPad (either with or without apple AirPlay) why do the shows rarely auto play?

Also, how awesome is your job/how did you come about it? What was your job before Netflix? I understand if you can't answer this question.

netflixandreal3 karma

On mobile devices we're a bit more careful with autoplay because you might be paying for bandwidth.

I have a post somewhere around here describing my work history in relative detail, but basically I worked at a different web startup before this and was super lucky to get this job. It's pretty awesome, especially for someone from a small town across the country. So many interesting things to work on and smart people to work on it with!

muddi9001 karma

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?

netflixandreal1 karma

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.

CriminallyStupid1 karma

The VPN/proxy crack down was a bit rough, but you're doing a good job and it has killed a lot of the bigger commercial operations. Roughly what percentage of users might access content libraries that were outside their normal home area/billing address?

netflixandreal3 karma

The numbers I saw were actually surprisingly low. The amount of news and posts on here that I saw about it made me think we had a lot of affected users. But actually it was a tiny percentage. I guess that tiny percentage was still too much for our partners.

Alexir5631 karma

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?

netflixandreal1 karma

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.

acepyro231 karma

Any chance of getting south park back? Or is that something you can't answer

netflixandreal2 karma

I'm not really sure what's going on with individual titles. I think South Park went to Hulu as an exclusive recently, guess they outbid us. Sucks. Sorry!

cantrnsorry1 karma

Is Netflix particularly thrilled about their success with Stranger Things? Also, how intensive is it for an original series to become green lit? In terms of finding great scriptwriters, actors, and locations?

netflixandreal2 karma

Most Netflix Originals are obtained as exclusive content from production studios. So we bought Stranger Things from someone else who dealt with the script/actors/etc. But someone here liked it and bought it and of course we are very happy with the result.

We are ramping up our capabilities as an internal production studio in addition to buying Netflix Originals, and are spending quite a bit of money on that too! No idea how the greenlight process works for that though, sorry. I think it just goes through standard channels like other studios.

CaptainInsane-o1 karma

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

netflixandreal1 karma

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.

jssmrenton1 karma

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

netflixandreal1 karma

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!

jony_dols1 karma

Is there any anti-Amazon Prime rhetoric from the older, saltier dogs at Netflix?!

netflixandreal1 karma

It's actually weirdly the opposite. The buzz from up high is that Amazon is barely even a competitor, which seems a bit strange to me. The quote is "quality over quantity" when it comes to Amazon. Also there's a lot of back-patting when Amazon started making their own originals.

Zeifer1 karma

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?

netflixandreal1 karma

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.

Zeifer1 karma

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!

netflixandreal1 karma

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!

searcherback1 karma

How many assets do you manage? What's your favorite thing on the company? Thanks!

netflixandreal3 karma

How many assets do you manage?

Can you elaborate? What's an asset?

What's your favorite thing on the company?

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

Elronnd1 karma

Re assets: theoretically, if you wanted to, how much of netflix could you take down? Would it be at all noticeable front-end, or would the only (maybe) noticeable thing be a slowdown?

netflixandreal3 karma

If I did it at night, I would guess I could probably bring down the whole site for about fifteen minutes. If I took time to plan it carefully, maybe an hour or two.

At most companies it would be impossible to get that much, but Netflix doesn't lock anything away from most employees. It speeds things up 99.9% of the time, and only occasionally creates problems. It just doesn't make sense to tank your career for a fifteen minute downtime. Also Netflix treats employees really well, so there aren't a lot (if any) disgruntled employees.

searcherback1 karma

Sorry, I was not clear. How many systems, servers etc do you manage? Thanks for your response!

netflixandreal1 karma

Oh, jeez. We don't have a count, but it's a lot. Netflix as a whole has tens of thousands of servers, at a guess. I personally am only responsible for the ones relating to my current projects, so probably about twenty or thereabouts. It's also constantly changing based on demand. We have software that automatically adds more servers when they're needed and removes them when they're not.

Mictlantecuhtli1 karma

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

netflixandreal4 karma

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!

MrHeavySilence1 karma

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?

netflixandreal1 karma

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.

ninjapino1 karma

Any shows you know of that you were really hoping to be picked up by Netflix that ended up falling through?

netflixandreal3 karma

Top Gear! I was really sad when Amazon got an exclusive on that.

gwansean1 karma

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

netflixandreal1 karma

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.