Streaming giant Netflix has decided that we can’t be trusted with the star rating system anymore. In exchange, they’re letting you keep your thumbs.
As reported by Variety, the ability to rate movies and TV in a five-star format is being replaced by a stripped-down thumbs up/thumbs down model. The move has been trotted out in test form and resulted in a 200% increase in ratings versus the traditional x/5 system among those given the new system. The switch is essentially envisioned as a better way of understanding what people like. Artsy fare, documentaries and the like might get more star-based love, but they’re not exactly what sends the bulk of users to the service. A new “percent-match” match feature is also on the way to better fit the customer’s taste.
“We made ratings less important because the implicit signal of your behavior is more important,” said Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin at the company’s press briefing today.
The news will be a bummer for folks that agonize over whether or not Junior deserves three stars. For those not in that camp? The simplicity beckons more “reviews” without the intimidation of having to assign a number to it. Of course, if you’re counting on the public to advise you on the quality of a 2010s Steven Seagal motion picture, you’re likely f*cked to begin with, aren’t you?
Netflix is pretty bullish on their new approach, although there’s still questions about how the pubic will respond to it en masse. For example, what happens when there’s a targeted campaign against a film, show or special? Amy Schumer’s recent special was overwhelmed with negative reviews and alt-right Reddit was partially to blame. The new system doesn’t really address that. Neither does the potential for murkiness with the broad format. A thumbs up for The Lobster and a thumbs up for Volcano come from the same damn hand is what I’m getting at. Oh well, Netflix will have this sorted out when it becomes the new law of the land in the coming weeks.