Netflix will kill its 5-star rating system in favour of ‘thumbs-up, thumbs-down’ — here’s why

Gladiator death thumbs down

Netflix will replace its five-star ratings system with a “thumbs up, thumbs down” one in the coming weeks, the company told The Verge.

Last January, Netflix CPO Neil Hunt told Business Insider that Netflix wanted to do away with the stars, since it considered it a bad rating system.

The problem, Hunt said, is that people subconsciously try to be critics. When they rate a movie or show from one to five stars, they fall into trying to objectively assess the “quality,” instead of basing the stars on how much “enjoyment” they got out of it.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you had fun watching a crappy movie, but still gave it a two-star rating because you know it’s not a “good” film. That presents Netflix with a problem. The system thinks you hated the movie.

Hunt told Business Insider that the two methods Netflix was tinkering with were a “like/dislike signal” and some form of “per cent match.”

Now, according to Netflix VP of product Tod Yellin, they will introduce both.

For ratings, you’ll have the option for thumbs-up or thumbs-down, which Yellin said yielded 200% more ratings than stars. Shows will also display a match rating, which shows how closely it aligns with a user’s taste. Shows with less than a 50% match won’t have the percentage shown, according to Variety.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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