If you opened up Netflix recently, you may have seen some changes. The star ratings are gone. They’ve gone the way of the dodo.
These weren’t actual ratings mind you, but generated independently for each user depending on what Netflix thought you might rate a certain thing. It did this by using the types of films or TV shows you watch and what you yourself rated.
This system has carried forward into a percentage model called Match. It will tell you what percent a property fits you, like some online dating sites (why yes I’ve been there).
The rating itself has been replaced by thumbs. You can either rate something as thumbs up – you loved it, thumbs down – you hated it, or no rating at all – ambivalent. This is good for Netflix in the way YouTube went. People are more likely to rate something that’s a binary, impulse decision, than humming and harring over choosing the appropriate rating. It simplifies what a lot of people already did anyway, rating things they loved five stars, and things they didn’t one star.
But the downside is this isn’t a good aggregate overall. We’re humans and we don’t see things in black and white. There might be things we like or don’t like in a show. That doesn’t mean we want to give a blanket hell yes, or hell no to something. The Match ratings aren’t proving too accurate with people. That may be because the new system has just launched, or we’re finally realising Netflix doesn’t really know us at all.
Your past star ratings are still available in the settings but they’re pretty much meaningless at this point.
Change is a good thing. Netflix isn’t resting on its laurels. I mean, it’s always been on the forefront, moving from DVD’s in your letterbox to being the biggest streaming platform out there. Now Netflix is making its own shows. We’ll just have to see how accurate these matches get.