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Thumbs-up or thumbs-down? Netflix is bringing some changes to its service

Plus, a new algorithm system for finding films and shows


Netflix announced yesterday during a press event that it was bringing a few changes to the user experience on the streaming service.

One of the biggest changes that subscribers can expect to see is the disappearance of the five-star rating system. Instead, people will now be able to just give whatever movie or TV show they just finished watching a thumbs-up of approval or thumbs-down of disapproval.

Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product, said the five-star rating system had begun to feel very antiquated and Netflix wanted to move forward.

“Five stars feels very yesterday now,” Yellin said, as reported by The Verge. “We’re spending many billions of dollars on the titles we’re producing and licensing, and with these big catalogs, that just adds a challenge.”

Netflix made the new rating system available to a select amount of users last year. Analysts noticed that during the trial run, the use of ratings on Netflix had increased by more than 200 percent. Netflix is planning on rolling out the new ratings system globally in April, meaning that users who are more inclined to use the five-star system have a couple more weeks with it.

“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie ten times more frequently?,” Yellin said, adding that it was more important for the company to be able to look at a larger number of ratings instead of a broader scale.

The company also confirmed yesterday that it had developed a new method of informing subscribers which movies and shows they’d probably be interested in watching. The new system, which is similar to how dating apps work, will list a percentage underneath the title. The higher the percentage the more likely it is that users will enjoy that title based on other titles they’ve watched.

This isn’t too unlike Netflix’s recommendation lists, but it is a much more concise method of recommending titles.

Netflix did not announce when the new algorithmic formula will be visible for users, but it’s likely that it will also roll out around the same time as the thumbs-up and thumbs-down rating system.

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