Netflix ditches star ratings for simplified thumbs-up/thumbs-down

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After news last month that Netflix was going to be ditching their five-star ratings for shows and movies, the company is rolling out their new rating system. Gone are the star ratings and in its place is a simplified thumbs-up/thumbs-down system.

With the star rating system, you could rate a show or movie from one to five stars, however — and as I found out today as well by watching the video above — the star rating didn’t work like people expected. When users see a star rating, they assume that it is a rating system based on how other people rated a product, service, or show. In the case of Netflix however, the star rating was merely an indication of how much the streaming service THOUGHT you might like a show. Kind of bizarre if you ask me.

The star rating you see next to each title is being replaced with a personalized % Match score. This score is a prediction of what Netflix thinks you may enjoy watching, based on your own unique tastes. The % Match is based solely on our algorithms analyzing your individual viewing habits and behavior — it is not a measure of overall popularity across the service.

As the thumbs-up system rolls out, you’ll now simply decide if you like or dislike a show. If you thumbs up it, you’re telling Netflix that you like that show or movie and want to see more like it. Thumbs down something and Netflix will stop suggesting that — and similar — titles to you. Once you give a title a thumbs up or a thumbs down, the % Match score will be replaced by the corresponding thumb icon.

Netflix has had star ratings for much of our history, but we’ve learned through over a year of testing that while we’ve used stars to help you personalize your suggestions, many of our members are confused about what they do.

That’s because we’ve all gotten used to star ratings on e-commerce and review apps, where rating contributes to an overall average, and the star rating shown next to a restaurant or a pair of shoes is an average of all the reviewers. On those apps, being a reviewer can be fun and helpful to others, but the primary goal isn’t always to help you get better suggestions.

When I first heard that Netflix was ditching the five-star rating, I’ll admit that I was a bit perturbed by the change. Given the fact that it didn’t work the way I thought it did, the thumbs-up system makes more sense and more accurately reflects what the company was using ratings for all along.

The new thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating system accurately reflects what Netflix was doing all along.

What do you think of Netflix’s new rating system? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.


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