Former Netflix video encoding chief David Ronca announced today that he’s joined Facebook as director of video encoding.
Ronca served as Netflix’s chief encoding technology engineer from 2007 until May of this year, spending many of those years working alongside fellow technologist Anne Aaron—a 2019 MCN “Wonder Women in Streaming” selection—to practically invent how modern streaming services deliver digital video content on a global basis.
“Ten years ago, there was very little in the way of tools and infrastructure for high-quality video encoding at scale, and everything we did was a first,” Ronca said on a LinkedIn blog posting announcing his career move today.
For its part, despite a push into original series last year, the platform that supports those shows, Facebook Watch, has yet to break out with a certifiable hit.
In June, Facebook said that Facebook Watch now had more than 720 million users monthly and 140 million users daily who spend at least one minute on the platform — an assertion that was disputed by advertisers.
But even anecdotally, anyone using Facebook on a regular basis can see that user-generated video is an increasingly relevant part of the social media network. With that increase in usage comes exponential need increases for computational horsepower and storage, and the electrical power to drive it all. Ronca said his mission is to manage that relationship.
“I believe that one of the biggest challenges of the next decade is reducing the compute and storage requirements for video encoding; bending the compute growth curve down, while still maximizing quality and codec efficiency,” Ronca said in his posting. “Reducing the cost of encoding is good business. However, we also have a responsibility to minimize the environmental costs of our work, and thus we must put priority on reducing wasteful use of compute capacity, and finding low-power solutions to many video processing tasks.”