When Netflix asks if you’re still watching, say, The Office, mid-10-hour bingefest, it can feel a little judgy (YES, okay? We’re still watching). But when people like Sherrie Gulmahamad spend their whole day streaming shows, the platform doesn’t get in their way — in fact, Netflix *pays* them to watch TV shows, movies, and specials.
Gulmahamad is an originals creative analyst at Netflix, or, as it’s more commonly known, a “Netflix tagger.” And a new profile in Fast Company offers some interesting insight into what it’s like to binge-watch professionally.
First of all, not just anyone is cut out to be a Netflix tagger (sorry). Gulmahamad, who the story focuses on, studied screenwriting in college, then got a graduate degree in critical film studies. She works with a team of about 30 people whose day-to-day job is watching Netflix shows, movies, and specials (up to about 20 hours a week) and tagging each with relevant metadata that makes everything easier to search and categorize.
Basically, Gulmahamad and her team are the ones who build the groupings you see in your Netflix queue.
You know, “Norwegian crime procedurals with a sarcastic female lead and a quirky sidekick,” etc. They also fill in more basic info like whether a show has nudity or violence and who’s in the cast. Gulmahamad specializes in comedy and stand-up specials, as well as sci-fi, but she’s watched a little bit of everything.
According to the story, Gulmahamad started in her position years ago, back when Netflix was still sending DVDs to your house in flimsy paper envelopes.
But nowadays, being a tagger is a coveted specialty to break into. When Gulmahamad is hiring new colleagues, she has very particular abilities in mind:
Netflix is famously hush hush about what goes down behind the scenes, so it’s always interesting to get an inside look at the machine that’s helping us all procrastinate on that last load of laundry. But they have, from time to time, released some numbers. Last year, for instance, users watched 250 million hours of content in a single January day. This year, the company plans to drop $8 billion on content and create *700* original shows and movies.
Which is to say, Gulmahamad and her crew will have plenty keeping them busy.