Learning how to entertain the world
As the world’s leading Internet television network with over 160 million members in over 190 countries, our members enjoy hundreds of millions of hours of content per day, including original series, documentaries, and feature films. We invest heavily in machine learning to continually improve our member experience and optimize the Netflix service end-to-end. As researchers, we innovate using machine learning in many areas where we prototype, design, implement, evaluate, and produce models and algorithms through both offline experiments and online A/B testing.
Machine learning impacts many exciting areas throughout our company. Historically, personalization has been the most well-known area, where machine learning powers our recommendation algorithms. We’re also using machine learning to help shape our catalog of movies and TV shows by learning characteristics that make content successful. We use it to optimize the production of original movies and TV shows in Netflix’s rapidly growing studio. Machine learning also enables us to optimize video and audio encoding, adaptive bitrate selection, and our in-house Content Delivery Network that accounts for more than a third of North American internet traffic. It also powers our advertising spend, channel mix, and advertising creative so that we can find new members who will enjoy Netflix.
Using machine learning pervasively across Netflix brings many new challenges where we need to push forward the state-of-the-art. This means coming up with new ideas and testing them out, be it new models and algorithms or improvements to existing ones, better metrics or evaluation methodologies, and addressing the challenges of scale. Our research spans many different algorithmic approaches including causal modeling, bandits, reinforcement learning, ensembles, neural networks, probabilistic graphical models, and matrix factorization.
“75 percent of users select movies based on the company’s recommendations, and Netflix wants to make that number even higher.”
Today, Netflix is undoubtedly the epitome of content recommendation and personalized user experience.