Netflix wants to ditch its 5-star rating system

Netflix wants to ditch its five-star-rating system and find a better one, according to the company’s CPO, Neil Hunt.

The problem, Hunt tells Business Insider, is that people subconsciously try to be critics. When they rate a movie or show from one to five stars, they fall into trying to objectively assess the “quality,” instead of basing the stars on how much “enjoyment” they got out of it.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you had fun watching a crappy movie, but still gave it a two-star rating because you know it’s not a “good” film. That presents Netflix with a problem. The system thinks you hated the movie.

Hunt explains that this leads to strange anomalies in the data. A prime example is Netflix’s new Adam Sandler movie, “The Ridiculous Six.” Netflix says the movie has had the fastest start — in viewing hours — of any movie that has ever been on the platform. Its star ratings, however, aren’t great (though Hunt didn’t say precisely how bad).

Here’s how the system works now.

When you look at a Netflix rating on a movie, the service shows you an estimate of how many stars similar users have given it. When a movie has one star next to it, that means it has been generally rated “1 star” by users like you.

Hunt doesn’t think the problem comes from bundling you with similar users. The problem comes with the very idea of you rating a movie.

Netflix wants to find new and better ways of capturing how much you actually enjoyed yourself — not just how objectively good you thought the movie was. The two methods Hunt is currently tinkering with are a “like/dislike signal” and some form of “percent match.”

The goal of all of this is, eventually, to help you pick the best possible stuff on Netflix so you enjoy the service more.[related-posts]



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  1. Maybe a Five Star Ratings system but then the stars can be different colors based on how much you enjoyed the movie?

    1. Nice idea! So the system rates two metrics, whether you think its a great movie, and whether you enjoyed it.

      I know its possible to enjoy a “crappy” movie, and those are two different things!

  2. could it be that netflix isnt believing what we are saying??? If many people watch a movie and dont like it, does it make it a good one just because many people have watched it??? No!

    1. Indeed do they have so much faith in a movie that they don’t believe the user’s ratings? However I know the way we click ratings isn’t always the way the creators of the ratings systems thought we would.

  3. FFS… What happen to our not Interested button. The CEO is more worried about people not watching movies based on ratings then what we actually care about it. I rate stuff shitty low it’s because I don’t want to see that sort of thing again.

    1. He should figure out a way to show us what we care about and people will watch. People stop watching when they find several 5 star movies that suck… If he can get it right, have a system where we find what we like, then both CEO and users are happy!


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