According to Netflix, as of this morning, my reviewer user ranking is No. 886, 927. Woo-hoo, cracked a million! Of the 1,287 movies to which I’ve designated a rating, I have reviewed zero. That’s quite a different story for the roughly 40 freelancers Netflix pays to balance out its algorithm. This relatively small group gets paid to tag, rate, and review movies that, in turn, tell you what to watch.
The taggers were hired for their love of entertainment and their ability to evaluate it quickly. Many are film school graduates who once worked in Hollywood — or dream of doing so.
They're the ones who pick from more than 1,000 tags to describe thousands of movies and television series offered by Netflix to viewers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Great Britain and Ireland. Every movie is watched by a single person, as are at least three episodes of every TV series.
Taggers are paid several hundred dollars per week — pocket change for a company that generated $1.76 billion of revenue in the first six months of this year — to watch between 10 to 20 hours of content.
Netflix won’t release the exact number of streams available, but estimates put it at around 14,000. In other words, way too many for the average viewer to sift through before s/he finds something better to do and cancels their Netflix subscription. The company estimates that around 75 percent of what we watch on the service is based on recommendations, which is why it’s coming up with more and more ways of slicing and dicing tags. In the last six years the number of tags, which used to be completely computer generated, has grown from a couple hundred to over 1000 with the help of the human touch.