Netflix to drop star ratings for thumbs up, thumbs down system

Say goodbye to the Netflix star. The video service is shedding its five-star rating system next month in favour of the thumbs up, thumbs down model.

'Members were sometimes confused about how to think about rating a title' with stars, says spokesperson

Netflix is ditching its five-star rating system in favour of a thumbs up, thumbs down system, made popular by YouTube and Facebook. (Bryan Gosline/Wikimedia Commons)

Say goodbye to the Netflix star. The video service is shedding its five-star rating system sometime next month in favour of the thumbs up, thumbs down model made popular by YouTube and Facebook.

The company said they are making the switch to further personalize the movies and shows it recommends to viewers. They tested out the new system with some users and saw a big boost in how many people rated what they watched.

"The star ratings represented compatibility — not quality," Netflix spokesperson Smita Saran said in an email. "Given that star ratings have traditionally been used to indicate quality in entertainment, members were sometimes confused about how to think about rating a title and how it impacted their recommendations."

A glimpse at what the thumbs up, thumbs down feature will look like when it gets rolled out next month. (Netflix)

Under the five-star model, one star means "hated it" while five means "loved it."

The service's algorithm then tries to match related content based on these ratings, but it sometimes led to wonky suggestions. The hope is to have the new model make the recommendations more accurate — thumbs up means enjoyed, thumbs down means didn't enjoy.

Netflix will also add a feature which they call "per cent match." It will give certain titles a percentage based on a user's past ratings and what they have watched.

The switches, announced at press event on Thursday, will be rolled out worldwide sometime in April but the company won't say exactly when.

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