Why Netflix Is Adding A Double Thumbs Up Button

If you're a regular TV watcher, you're most likely already aware there's a big difference between loving and "just liking" a TV show on Netflix. Anyone can simply enjoy a show and then click the Thumbs Up button to save it for later or tell the Netflix Recommendation Engine to offer up other, similar TV shows. 

There's also the option to Thumbs Down a TV show, which in turn makes Netflix recommend similar shows less often. But why can't Netflix users define their tastes even further? As of April 11, the company is addressing this concern head-on with its new Double Thumbs Up button, which essentially allows users to indicate that they like something even more than usual.

The concept is exactly as straightforward as it sounds. If you're a hardcore fan of shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," but you only casually enjoy sitcoms like "Seinfeld," now you can indicate your refined set of preferences much more clearly to the platform's algorithm. Netflix is hoping that delineating between shows that are Double Thumb-worthy and those that are just Thumb-worthy may serve to create a far more engaging Netflix experience for everyone involved.

Up until around April 2017, any Netflix user could rate a TV show or movie on a five-point scale. That system worked for more than just curating one's own playlist; it also gave a numerical score for others to base their watching decisions.

Why Netflix ditched its five-star rating system

In 2017, Business Insider reported that Netflix's Cameron Johnson described the switch from a star system to a thumb system as having allowed the platform to be more transparent in what a score actually meant.

In fact, scores shown in the interface didn't actually equate to the average score given by all users; it was instead based on how highly people with similar tastes had scored it in the past, and it was basically just trying to tell viewers their odds of also liking the content based on what the algorithm already knew of their tastes. According to Protocol, Netflix discovered there was a 200% increase in engagement when they dropped the star system completely in lieu of a simple thumbs up or thumbs down.

Netflix's new Double Thumbs Up system has been in the works for about a year, but it may not be the final iteration of the rating system that we end up with. In fact, Netflix has plenty of reasons to continue building on this new system. In light of that, if viewers can finally decide to give certain shows a Double Thumbs Up, why not include a Double Thumbs Down button, as well? Regardless, Netflix is now steadily rolling out its new Double Thumbs Up feature to users worldwide who will soon be able to start curating their TV backlogs with improved precision.