Netflix Changing Viewer Rating System17 Mar, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
It worked for Roman elite at the gladiator games, and became a trademark for late movie critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel. Now Netflix plans to incorporate thumbs up/thumbs down symbols for viewers to rate movies and TV shows.
Beginning in April, Netflix will do away with the current five-star rating system and enable viewers to judge content with a simple up (good) or down (bad) vote.
“Five stars feels very yesterday now,” Todd Yellin, VP of product, told a March 16 media briefing. “We’re spending many billions of dollars on the titles we’re producing and licensing, and with these big catalogs, [a star rating] just adds a challenge.”
Yellin said the thumbs up/down system has seen a 200% spike in user responses since being test-marketed globally. Netflix predicates much of content recommendation algorithms on user feedback. A thumbs up or down symbol is much easier to navigate than rating content on a scale of one-to-five stars.
“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie 10 times more frequently?” Yellin asked. “What you do versus what you say you like are different things.”
Netflix will also begin informing users of the probability they would like a particular movie or TV show based on so-called “percent-matching.” Yellin said the goal is to combine personalized tastes among subscribers in order to recommend expand content selections to individuals.
“We’re finding these clusters of people and then we’re figuring out who is like you, who enjoys these kinds of things, and then we’re mixing and matching those,” he said.