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?