Peter Kafka

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Netflix Nabs an HBO Engineer

netflix just for kidsDepending on who you and ask and when you ask, HBO and Netflix are either in a fierce battle for your video subscription dollars, or they’re just two video subscription services that complement each other.

We can at least agree on this, though: HBO and Netflix are both very interested in figuring out the best way to deliver TV-quality video over the Internet, and both have around 30 million subscribers in the U.S.

Which gives this personnel move a little bit of zing: Rob Caruso, an HBO engineer who had been working on the cable channel’s HBO Go service, has taken a job at Netflix.

No word on what Caruso’s new title or job description will be; his LinkedIn profile describes his HBO post as “Vice President, Digital Products.”

HBO confirmed Caruso’s move but didn’t offer any other comment; no comment from Netflix.

Earlier this year, HBO began re-orging its technical team, and longtime strategy and development exec Hans Deutmeyer headed out. In a memo announcing the changes, new tech head Otto Berkes also announced that Caruso would be moving around:

“Rob’s new charter is to build software engineering capabilities to optimize digital asset creation, management, and security, and to create technologies that unlock the full potential of software in the digital content area. Rob and his team will collaborate closely with Digital Products to ensure that our digital content technologies and our consumer-facing products inform each other to enable unique and innovative content-driven user experiences. This new role and group will be critical to achieving end-to-end software technology excellence.”

Last month, in his own memo laying out his vision for video’s future, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said his company was spending $350 million a year improving its core service and app, not counting content spending.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work