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Netflix to abandon five-star system for "thumbs up"/percent system

03.17.2017

After spending a large amount of time sending out customer surveys, analyzing viewer habits and conducting many, MANY experiments with lab rats critiquing various cheeses, Netflix has announced it will be getting rid of its five-star rating system. But don’t worry, indecisive viewers, they’re replacing it with something much, much…something else.

It was announced at a press event by Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin that after careful consideration Netflix will be removing the five-star reviewing system on its service, and replacing it with a simpler “thumbs up, thumbs down” style of reviewing. The style of reviewing was made famous in the 70s by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and was made famous among tweens via Facebook.

Yellin noted how the decision was made after the rating feature was tested on hundreds of thousands of users over the course of 2016. “We are addicted to the methodology of A/B testing,” Yellin said. The result was that thumbs got 200% more ratings than the traditional star-rating feature,” he said.

On top of the new system, Netflix will also be incorporating a new percent-match feature that will match you to movies via a simple percentage pairing. What that means is that, based off movies and shows you’ve rated, others will be suggested based on how well you may match. For instance, if you liked movies with female leads and DAREDEVIL, you may get a 95% match with JESSICA JONES, and then the two of you will go on a date and you'll discover you have nothing in common.

The change comes after Netflix execs noticed how the current rating system was becoming less and less relevant among users, while also much more inaccurate. For example, users might rate a compelling drama as a four or five, but rate SAUSAGE PARTY a one or two (it does have that low a rating, sadly), despite the fact those users were more likely to watch PARTY more often than the drama. What that means is it’s cool to bash on Adam Sandler, but we all know you’re going to watch BIG DADDY again over a Werner Herzog documentary.

The news comes on the heels of Amy Schumer saying internet trolls are responsible for the low reviewer ratings on her new comedy special. However, as noted, the new rating system went through testing for most of 2016, proving that regardless of what people think, the world does not revolve around Amy Schumer.

If we’re going to go ahead and review the reviewing system, I’d like to say on a moral level I prefer the five-star system. Though it may inaccurately reflect impulse viewing habits, it’s more detailed and thought-out. It could reflect a movie is shit, somewhat shit, good, great and amazing – whereas a thumb systems deflates it to just “good or shit”. The percentage thing reminds me of internet dating, so that’s just a bit odd, but overall I get it. People base what they watch off word-of-mouth, the thinking being who wants to waste hours of their life on something they have no idea is good or bad? That’s chaos! So this way it’s more streamlined, even if it still has potential to prove just as inaccurate as the five-star system. Don’t hide behind that one-star rating; we all know you’ve seen RIDICULOUS SIX 15 times, Craig.

Source: Variety
Tags: Netflix

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