Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

SMNYC 2024: Netflix Engineer Sujana Sooreddy Talks Sustainability, Mentorship, and Women in Streaming Media

At Streaming Media NYC 2024, Tim Siglin, Founding Executive Director, Help Me Stream Research Foundation, and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media, interviews Sujana Sooreddy, Senior Software Engineer, Netflix. She discusses the challenges of encoding and transcoding content for different formats and devices, and she highlights the importance of using data analytics to understand compute usage and viewability of a particular stream. She also talks about the increasing number of women in the field and the value of mentorship within the community.

Siglin mentions that he and Sooreddy are about to be on a Streaming Media NYC panel that he is moderating ("Computing While Cooling"). The panel will focus on how to make media’s tech stack more cost—and energy-efficient and implement sound and sustainable best practices throughout the media supply chain. He then asks Sooreddy to discuss her role at Netflix.

“I'm part of the media infrastructure and platform team,” Sooreddy says. “So what we offer is the workflow orchestration engines and the serverless functions and insights into how much compute or how fast we are delivering. We work mostly on the encoding part, basically acquisition and the encoding, not mostly on the delivery side effect.”

Making technical decisions from a sustainability standpoint

Siglin says, “One of the things we talked about in a pre-call was having to make those decisions from a sustainability standpoint, how many compute hours it's going to take to encode or transcode something to a new format versus the number of potential eyeballs. Just explain what that balance is if somebody doesn't understand compute hours.”

Sooreddy says that considering the huge amount of content on the Netflix platform, along with the need to encode both old and new content for viewability on every device, it is important to use data analytics to understand the compute and viewability usage of a particular stream. “Look at what your long-tail content is,” she says. “Use predictive analysis to figure out what should be encoded, how fast it should be done, and what should be the compute that could be reserved for a place where nothing is running. It doesn't have to be done now and today.”

Siglin asks, “Do the analytics also take into account what devices people would be consuming that particular content on?”

“Various factors come into the picture,” Sooreddy says. “The devices that have been consuming, the locations where it is being consumed, and many other things. Especially when you're doing delivery, where should it even sit? Right. So all of these [factors] will be considered.”

The rising profile of women in streaming media

Siglin notes that five or six years ago, there was a significant lack of women in upper-level positions in the industry and a dearth of mentorship. “Have we made progress in the industry over the last five or six years?” he asks Sooreddy.

“I definitely would say yes,” Sooreddy says. “Not just in mentorship, but also in the number of women who are part of the streaming media these days is considerably higher than before. In terms of mentorship, I think Women in Streaming Media helps me get to know people. So, these communities help us find mentors where we can lean into someone from a career growth perspective and someone from a technology perspective. Anne Aaron, our Senior Director at Netflix, was my mentor for some time, and she still is. I came to Women in Streaming Media through her. So that kind of community helps us lean in, understand, and grow together.”

See more highlights and interviews from SMNYC.

Watch full sessions from SMNYC on-demand.

Join us in August 2024 for more thought leadership, actionable insights, and lively debate at Streaming Media Connect.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

SMNYC 2024: Adeia's Serhad Doken Talks Big-Picture Tech Stack Sustainability

Streaming Media's Tim Siglin interviews Adeia's Serhad Doken at Streaming Media NYC. Doken discusses the company's focus on inventing solutions for future industry problems. These inventions could lead to new products, markets, and services over the next five to ten years. He also emphasizes the importance of sustainability and the need to consider it from a broader perspective rather than focusing on small silos, and he highlights the complexity of the media ecosystem and the interconnectedness of its various parts.

SMNYC 2024: Synamedia's Robin Oakley Talks Stream Security and the Consumer Experience

Streaming Media's Tim Siglin interviews Synamedia's Robin Oakley at Streaming Media NYC 2024. He emphasizes the importance of a proactive approach to security and highlights the company's work with the common access token format, a CTA Wave initiative that aims to create a common CDN token syntax that can be used across multiple CDNs. He also touches on the challenges of protecting content while maintaining a quality experience for the consumer and the increasing sophistication of piracy.

SMNYC 2024: LPG edu Founder and Netflix Global Ed Alum Lori Greene Talks Career Pivots and Finding Your Purpose

Streaming Media's Tim Siglin interviews LPG edu founder Lori Greene at Streaming Media NYC 2024. Greene formerly ran global education at Netflix. She discusses the challenges of teaching online and the importance of engaging students. She also shares her insights on career development, emphasizing the importance of understanding one's purpose, personal branding, networking, and being a positive force.

How Netflix, Meta, and United Cloud Choose New Codecs and Why

Migrating to new codecs is fraught with challenges and complications for companies with massive content libraries like Netflix and Meta, or live linear providers like United Cloud. What drives change-of-codec decisions and what considerations and trade-offs complicate these decisions vis a vis legacy users and more? Netflix's Andrey Norkin, Meta's Hassene Tmar, United Cloud's Boban Kasalovic, and Help Me Stream's Tim Siglin discuss these issues and more in this clip from Streaming Media Connect.

Security, Scalability, and Cloud Streaming Workflows

WarnerMedia SVP Renard T. Jenkins discusses the security challenges of cloud-based streaming at scale in this clip from Streaming Media Connect 2022.