Netflix Changes How You Rate Shows And Movies

Apr 06

Netflix watchers have a simpler choice for rating their favorite stuff: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

The streaming media service rolled out changes to its ratings system, replacing the five-star system with streamlined ratings to improve recommendations users receive and eliminate confusion about how ratings work.

Cameron Johnston, director of product innovation at Netflix says, the thumbs up or thumbs down ratings will help Netflix users understand ratings are meant to tell the service what movies and TV shows you like. “People intuitively understand I’m teaching the system about what my tastes are to get better suggestions in the future,” he said.

The idea behind thumbs up or thumbs down is this: the easier it is to rate a TV show or movie, the more likely you will rate more frequently, leading to a better set of recommendations. When Netflix tested the ratings system before launch, Johnston says they saw a 200% jump in ratings activity.

The thumbs down also has a purpose: removing shows from your recommended list that appear repeatedly, even though the user has no interest in watching. Ratings users added through the star system will still be used by Netflix to help choose recommendations.

The ratings lead to another feature called Percent Match, which recommends shows through a percentage, using the ratings you’ve already added to the system. For example, you may see a TV series with a message there’s a 90% chance you’ll like it.

Another potential benefit to the switch: as recommendations improve, users focus more on watching content instead of exploring. “We want people to not have to spend a lot of time browsing,” says Johnston.