Mar 17, 2017
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Netflix to Replace 5-Star Ratings With Thumbs Up or Down

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Netflix is taking the gray area out of its ratings system.

In the not-so-distant future, the streaming giant will replace its current five-star ratings system with something a little easier: thumbs up or down. You either liked it or you didn’t; no more internal debates over just how much or how little you enjoyed something.

The change will go into effect globally, beginning in April, Netflix Vice President of Product Todd Yellin said at a Thursday press briefing, according to The Verge. Netflix will also reportedly start showing users an algorithm-based percentage match for each show and movie, giving people an idea of how likely they are to enjoy it.

“Five stars feels very yesterday now,” Yellin said, according to the report.

Netflix has been considering this move for a while. Business Insider, citing the company’s Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt, in January 2016 reported that Netflix was looking to replace the five-star system with something better.

“The problem, Hunt tells Business Insider, is that people subconsciously try to be critics,” the site reported at the time. “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.”

So, if you got a lot of enjoyment out of watching a movie, but only rated it two stars because it’s not what the rest of the world would deem a quality picture, Netflix will think you hated it. In the future, the streaming site might not recommend a similar title you actually might have watched and enjoyed.

Netflix started testing the thumbs up/down system last year with hundreds of thousands of new users around the world, according to The Verge. Yellin told reporters that the new system encouraged 200 percent more ratings compared to the five-star model.


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