Netflix abandons star rating system, replaces it with thumbs

Last month we learned that Netflix was planning to get rid of its star rating system and replace it with a simplified, less detailed rating system: thumbs up and thumbs down. That system is now rolling out, with users seeing the thumb ratings instead of the stars that have long dotted the platform. At the heart of the problem, according to Netflix, was a misunderstanding of what the stars meant, and so it is making things more clear.

If you see a star rating on Netflix, you may presume that star rating shows the quality of the content — it is a reasonable assumption, as that is how star ratings work. However, Netflix explains that this isn't how its star ratings worked, and that rather than showing the overall quality of the show, they were designed to show users to what degree the content was relevant to them.

For this reason, two people could see different numbers of stars for the same show, according to the company, as the platform's way of predicting what each user will like. The new thumbs are designed to better express this reality, and to do so in a simpler way. A percentage shows how much of a match a show is for a particular user. A 0% rating, for example, means the show isn't at all relevant based on Netflix's prediction system.

The thumbs ratings will be used to influence what shows Netflix offers up to the user. Giving something a thumbs up, for example, lets the prediction system know you like the show, and over time it will get to know you better, making more accurate predictions. A thumbs down rating, meanwhile, means Netflix won't show it as a suggestion in the future, though it'll still show up in search.

SOURCE: Netflix