Netflix ditches star ratings for new “thumbs” rating system

Like a show? Give it a thumbs up. Not impressed? Downvote it with a thumbs down

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Netflix has done away with its classic star ratings in favour of a new ‘thumbs up, thumbs down’ ranking system, which the streaming service claims will help make it easier to personalise new show suggestions.

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Users will no longer be able to rate a show or movie out of five stars. Instead, if they like a show they will simply give it a thumbs up. If they’re not impressed, it’s a thumbs down. That information will then be used by Netflix to suggest other titles that viewers might be interested in, and track viewer reactions to Netflix titles.

Users will also now see a new “percent match” score against each show title, which Netflix claims is personalised for each subscriber and “is based on an individual member’s unique viewing patterns and habits”.

The new features will be rolled out across all Netflix platforms. However, the company adds that the system will still use users’ old star ratings to help it tailor recommended content.

“Using thumbs helps us learn even more about your unique tastes so we can do a better job suggesting stories we think you’ll love,” Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, explained. 

“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,” he said. “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.

“In contrast, when people see thumbs, they know that they are used to teach the system about their tastes with the goal of finding more great content. That’s why when we tested replacing stars with thumbs we saw an astounding 200% increase in ratings activity.”

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Will it be a thumbs up for the new algorithm? Have your say below.