For years Netflix users have been allowed to rate their viewing content on a 1-5 star rating, much like how we rate restaurants, apps, and (mentally) people, but soon the world we know and love will come to an end. Now, as if the announcement of the Queen Bey having twins isn’t sending us into enough of an uproar, Netflix decided that they’d mess us up a little more by announcing that the system we live by is going to be gone in April. In lieu of the 1-5 star rating system, we’ll be ranking our movies, documentaries, and binge watched series by a simple thumbs up or thumbs down indicator. Essentially having us swipe right or left on what we want to watch, but not really being able to describe to what degree we find it attractive.
The announcement was made on Thursday, at the Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos (northern California, where it’s cold AF). The VP of Product, Todd Yellin, told press on Thursday that the new thumb based system had been tested with a large number of users, and resulted in a 200% increase in rating participation than the star rating system. This is due to the fact that it’s easier mentally to just say whether you like it or didn’t. According to Yellin, the system is also meant to be more accurately based on personal preference. Apparently, there was a pattern found in users that used the 1-5 star rating system, that rendered said system less than accurate. Frivolous, and less heavy films or programs were typically rated lower stars than the more profound documentaries or ground breaking films. This doesn’t necessarily speak to whether or not viewers liked the programs, as even though they were rating less serious subject matter lower, they were still watching and re-watching those programs more frequently than the more serious material.
Here’s the dilemma: The new thumbs up or down system doesn’t really leave any middle ground in terms of whether or not users like what they are watching. You either love it or you hate it, which makes this system less informative. Rating something 5 stars and 4 stars is vastly different to those of us who pay attention to ratings like that, but with the new system, they would both get the same thumbs up. Not to mention the fact that all of the suggested material users get on their suggestion feed is based on how they rate the material they watch. Never fear, though, because users will now get suggested material based on a percentage of how compatible it is with their individual tastes. This indicates that the system relies more on user behavior, than what the users are purposefully indicating with ratings. Content that lines up with what users have shown to be their preferences via their pattern of viewing, will display percentage based compatibility. Netflix will be the new Tinder of entertainment.
While there are some advantages with the new change, what with the fact that the star rating system is less reliable when people don’t take it seriously, we all know that adjusting to a change in a system that’s been in place since the dawn of time-or on demand viewing material-will be a little taxing for those of us set in our five star ways. Regardless of whether we like it or not, it’s happenin’ people. We better not be seeing any #NotMyNetflix posts.
How do you feel about the switch? Will you rate more or less? Let us know in the comments.