Why Netflix Is Dropping Its Rating System

According to new reports, Netflix is considering dropping the five-star rating system that has been a hallmark of the site since its inception as a streaming service.

In an interview with Business Insider, CPO Neil Hunt noted that the review system as is encourages people to rate movies based on “quality” instead of “enjoyment” – which leads to odd paradoxes in data. For example, Adam Sandler’s opus “The Ridiculous 6” is attracting lots and lots of viewers, who all go on to give it a terrible review and then watch it again.

The problem, Hunt says, is that if you rate a movie you enjoy poorly on quality grounds, the algorithm Netflix uses to sort data about what consumers like and dislike — and the data sets those algorithms spit out — ends up being sub-optimal.

Or, stated more simply, Netflix wants to recommend stuff to users on the basis of what they like — if users are rating things they actually like poorly, the system gets confused and Netflix can’t recommend the right stuff to users.

However, though the five-star system is eliciting doubts about its efficacy, for the time being it is safe as Netflix has yet to have come up with the better solution that will replace it. However, that better solution is currently being researched and includes options such as a simple like/dislike feature or a percentage matching system to better calibrate ratings to user tastes.


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