- Netflix ended its user reviews feature earlier this summer, citing “declining using over time.”
- But according to data compiled by Cordcutting.com, Netflix originals had also seen a steady year-over-year decline in user-rating scores, well before the company decided to bring its user reviews to an end.
Netflix announced in July that it would phase out its user reviews feature by mid August, and the company’s stated reasoning, as reported by CNET, was that the feature had seen “declining usage over time.”
But there could be another reason as well: Users were giving Netflix original shows and movies increasingly bad reviews.
According to data compiled by Cordcutting.com (before Netflix wiped out its user reviews data in August), Netflix original series and films had also seen a steady year-over-year decline in user-rating scores, well before the company decided to bring its user reviews to an end.
While the number of new Netflix originals increased exponentially over time, the average user ratings of Netflix originals dropped a full point, or 24 per cent, on its five-star scale between 2012 and 2018, the site found.
(Note: The data on originals goes back to 2011 because several series now branded as “originals” were produced earlier than its big original programming push starting with “House of Cards” in 2013, such as “Borgia” in 2011 and “Lilyhammer” in 2012.)
The data supports a conjecture that Variety reported in July regarding “negative” user reviews, when describing the following “likely” reasoning for Netflix’s decision to end the feature:
“[User reviews] probably have not, on balance, driven people to watch more content on the service. Negative reviews, it would seem, aren’t good for business – especially as Netflix increases its spending on original programming.”
Netflix has said it will have more than 1,000 original series and films on its platform by the end of 2018, a year that has seen the company spend an estimated $US8 billion on content altogether.
The company’s decision to end its user reviews feature came over a year after it swapped its five-star recommendation system with a “thumbs up, thumbs down” algorithm, which led to a drastic increase in user participation. That feature differs from its now-defunct, desktop-only platform for user text reviews, which the above data tracked and which stayed with a five-star rating system until Netflix ended the feature in August.
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