Netflix Apps Will Today Begin Ditching Star-Based Rating System for Thumbs

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Netflix has announced that users will today begin noticing its new thumbs-up and thumbs-down rating system as it appears across various apps and on desktop computers, following a reveal earlier in March that the streaming company was planning to ditch its 5-star rating system.

In the previous system, users had to choose between 1 and 5 stars to determine how much they liked a show, and using that data Netflix displayed the same information back at them for titles they have yet to watch. So for a new TV show, Netflix might suggest it as a 4-star title, meaning it's something the user should enjoy. This system confused many users over the years, who believed that the stars were a community aggregate of a show's overall quality, not a personal recommendation system tailored for each user.

netflix thumbs ratings
That'll begin changing today with thumbs, which will ask each user to decide simply whether they want to give a TV show or movie they've watched a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, which Netflix compares to dating apps like Tinder in a new promotional video also debuting today.

We are retiring our five-star rating system and replacing it with a simpler and more intuitive thumbs-up and thumbs-down. A thumbs-up tells Netflix that you like something and want to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down lets us know you aren’t interested in watching that title and we should stop suggesting it to you. You can still search for it, but we’ve heard what you were trying to tell us -- you aren’t a fan -- and it will no longer show up on your homepage.

In either case, using thumbs helps us learn even more about your unique tastes so we can do a better job suggesting stories we think you’ll love.

With this data, users will also begin seeing far simpler percentage numbers accompanying unseen titles they might be interested in. Called a "% Match score," Netflix said that this is a prediction of what its algorithm thinks each user might enjoy watching based on what they've previously given a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So a show they might be particularly interested in would have a "95% Match," for example.


Netflix wasn't clear on when the new rating system would begin appearing across its devices, like iOS and tvOS, but it's likely to debut on Netflix.com ahead of the company's suite of companion apps.

Tag: Netflix

Top Rated Comments

coolfactor Avatar
50 months ago
I had no idea that the stars were a reflection of how much Netflix thought I would like the movie or TV show! If that were the case, it was quite often way off. I turned away several choices because of a low rating.

The comments aren't much help either. All over the map.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Starflyer Avatar
50 months ago
In response to Amy Schumer's historically bad star ratings?

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Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
C DM Avatar
50 months ago

I know I'll get flamed for saying it, however this is an Apple rumours site or has it been renamed NetflixRumors?

Having said that, I found this article quite interesting as I also didn't realise how the star system really worked. It might explain why some real cr*p seemed to inexplicably have a high rating.

Popular/userful/interesting apps and services that get used (or can be used) on Apppe devices get coverage on sites like this. Pretty much how it's been for quite some time.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Singin Hobo Avatar
50 months ago
This switch has been long over-due in several publicly reviewed areas. People doling out stars like professional movie critics—giving and taking at their whims—doesn't really serve anybody. All we need to know is "Are you glad you watched/read/whatever this thing?"
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
extricated Avatar
50 months ago
I learn something new every day.
Today I learned that Netflix has been (unintentionally?) deceiving me for years.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
50 months ago
Wow, it's doubtful many people understood the star rating. One would naturally assume that the number of stars was the mean average of all users ratings. Now we find out it has nothing to do with that & they were "fake" stars.
What a retarded & misleading rating system!

The most logical rating system is thumbs up/thumbs down (tomato/smashed tomato) with user percentages like used in rotten tomatoes. Nothing mysterious about that. Someone at nextflix really over thought the rating system last time to the point that it was meaningless & worthless.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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