Roku Job Openings Offer Content Clues

Dave Zatz —  February 14, 2013 — 12 Comments

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A random web search turned me on to some interesting Roku job openings, emphasizing content relationships and recommendations. Individually, maybe they’re not so compelling. But from a holistic standpoint, perhaps these new positions shed a bit of light on Roku’s ambitions and decision to turn down an Amazon acquisition in favor of additional funding.

The first role is Roku Programming Director… to be located in Los Angeles. Which, of course, much of the content industry calls home. “The Director will survey the landscape of available content, plans and strategies” to assist “business development prioritize content acquisition efforts. ” Hm. By comparison, the Content Programming Manager will be based at Roku’s Nothern California headquarters and will basically function as a full-time recommendation engine:

As a content programmer, you will be responsible for recommending compelling content – TV shows, movies, music to our audience. With over 300 channels from Netflix to Bollywood, this is no simple task. You should become the expert in every channel on our platform and what’s hot on TV, theatres, and YouTube. Understanding our demographics and developing customized recommendations for audience niches is an area where you can demonstrate the depth and breadth of your knowledge. You will control prominent placements on the screen where you can dynamically deliver and personalize your recommendations. Ultimately, you should make an impact on our users viewing habits.

There’s a few things we can glean from this opening. First, a little extrapolation suggests YouTube will remain absent from the Roku platform… at least in regards to current hardware. But more interesting are allusions to that long overdue UI refresh, which will clearly feature suggested and targeted content from Roku’s 700+ “channels.” Also, we can’t help but wonder if Roku could roll their own UltraViolet video-on-demand service to cut out the middle man. Or might that be at odds with their relatively open platform?

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12 responses to Roku Job Openings Offer Content Clues

  1. Geez, you wont let this youtube thing go. ;) youtube is not that compelling. re buffering, pixalated garbage, and harlem shake videos is not a market differentiator.

  2. I’m not responsible for Roku, Inc sticking “YouTube” in both these job openings. ;) They clearly think it has some relevance. Personally, I don’t care if it’s on the platform or not. At least not at the moment. But based on incoming queries and product/company feedback it’s a huge deal for a lot of folks. And we know Google/YouTube has much grander intentions than 30 second cat videos.

  3. Youtube is a HUGE HUGE HUGE deal. I subscribe to 30+ channels. I treat the list of new videos in my channels exactly like a TiVo now playing list, a constantly updating list of content for me to watch.

    I didn’t much care about Youtube before I figured out subscriptions either. Someone would send me a link of a cat doing something funny, I’d watch it, and leave the site. But once you find channels that consistently deliver content you enjoy, it transforms into something really compelling.

  4. Maybe. You can read it as a job description for a human being who does what automated services like Jinni and Digitalsmiths do. (which seems really inefficient) — the other way to read it is that you are grouping channels in a way that makes sense for advertisers, sponsors, etc. – creating a plan to somehow monetize their business.

  5. The other thing I’m thinking is that Roku sends out weekly e-mails with recommended shows on them and it might be that person’s job to come up with that week’s list?

  6. You will control prominent placements on the screen where you can dynamically deliver and personalize your recommendations.

    Unless that “screen” is PC, the email newsletters wouldn’t be their primary role… Regardless, maybe I should apply. ;)

  7. Wake me when they refresh UI.

  8. You shouldn’t even have to apply, If Roku is smart they should send you a job offer based on this blogs content alone

  9. “There’s a few things we can glean from this opening. First, a little extrapolation suggests YouTube will remain absent from the Roku platform… at least in regards to current hardware.”

    Did we ever figure out why YouTube is absent from the Roku? I personally don’t want it, but I am curious as to the why part.

    All I can guess is either:

    1) Google wants money per unit to allow access.

    or

    2) Google demands ads, and Roku wants to keep its platform ad-free.

    Did we ever figure out if its one of those two, or some other reason? I mean, difficulty of implementation can’t be the explanation here.

  10. It’s currently 2) and requires a HTML5 UI … which we’ll probably see from new hardware. Originally, I guesstimate it was 1).

  11. “It’s currently 2) and requires a HTML5 UI … which we’ll probably see from new hardware. Originally, I guesstimate it was 1).”

    Hmmm…

    After writing my comment, I realized that Roku features Crackle, which is ad-supported. So maybe that theory is dead wrong, and it really is just an implementation issue based on the HTML5 requirement.

    (But if that’s true, why can I get YouTube on my TiVo HD? More and more mysterious, no? Or perhaps just a grandfathered-in thing?)

  12. My assumption would be that they partnered with TiVo but Roku was using their service as a third-party.

    Besides, you can always just use videobuzz.

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