As the largest Internet TV network, one of the most interesting challenges we face at Netflix is scaling services to the ever-increasing demands of over 36 million customers from over 40 countries.
Each movie or TV show on Netflix is described by a complex set of metadata. This includes the obvious information such as title, genre, synopsis, cast, maturity rating etc. It also includes links to images, trailers, encoded video files, subtitles and the individual episodes and seasons. Finally there are many tags that are used to create custom genres, such as “upbeat”, “cerebral”, “strong female lead”. These all have to be translated into many languages, so the actual text is tokenized and encoded.
This metadata must be made available for several different services, which each require a different facet of the data. Front-end services for display purposes need links to images, while algorithms that do discovery and recommendations use the tags extensively and search thousands of movies looking for the best few to show to a user. Powering this while utilizing resources extremely efficiently is one of the key goals of our Video Metadata Services (VMS) Platform.