Falling in line with earlier reports, Netflix has today replaced its five-star rating system with a new thumbs one. Yes, you now have the option to either — press thumbs up if you like the content or press thumbs down if you hated it. The simplification of the rating system has been done to better the suggestion mechanism of the platform.
In the official blog post, Cameron Johnson, Director of Product Innovation describes the new star-based rating system saying:
A thumbs-up tells Netflix that you like something and want to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down lets us know you aren’t interested in watching that title and we should stop suggesting it to you.
This is a significant change in the eyes of Netflix because people misunderstood its previous five-star rating system. We have all been misinterpreting the previous rating system, which begged you to give some thought before rating a movie or TV show. And what did you think before rating the movie?
For example: Oh, my perception of this splendid movie title was such and such but wait..I also need to take into account how others should perceive this movie because my rating affects the average.
Well, I (as well as Netflix’s Cameron Johnson) hate to break it to you but the star rating attached to each piece of content — be it a TV show or a movie — doesn’t reflect the average of other Netflix users’ ratings. The on-demand video streaming platform was using the five-star rating for dual purposes. One it enabled the company to personalize your suggestions, where the rating shown alongside the content was Netflix’s way of telling you how you’d rate the same.
For example: The 4-star rating next to House of Cards wasn’t based on average ratings of other users. Instead, it was Netflix’s way of telling you — Hey mate, I’m pretty sure you’d rate this TV show 4 stars! (the star ratings was based on your viewing habits. this even applied to suggestions)
This means the platform wasn’t using the five stars to convey average ratings, which we’ve become very acquainted with. E-commerce platforms have engraved in our brains that star ratings are based off opinions from other users. But, Netflix played its own twist to the same system but we never understood it. So, Netflix started testing the thumbs system and witnessed a 200 percent increase in rating activity.
Thus, it is replacing the five stars with thumb ratings and their thoughts about your liking are now being called Percentage Match. This feature is personalized and aimed at telling you that the said percentage is how much you’d like a movie or TV show. The same is being decided on the basis of algorithms, which analyze your individual viewing habits and behavior. Johnson has described this new feature in the blog post as under:
This score is a prediction of what Netflix thinks you may enjoy watching, based on your own unique tastes.
This new system is completely simplified and provides users with an action that requires minimal interaction. They’re immediate and you don’t even need mull over that half a rating you didn’t give to the movie you watched yesterday. It enables you to provide feedback to the recommendations Netflix is serving you — thumbs up if you like it and thumbs down if you don’t. This means as you continue to rate more content, you’ll see even better recommendations over time.