With the new system, Netflix will give a personalised ‘percentage-match’ score alongside the titles in its catalogue, based on how much it thinks a viewer will enjoy it based on their tastes.
“The % Match is based solely on our algorithms analysing your individual viewing habits and behaviour – it is not a measure of overall popularity across the service,” said Netflix director of product innovation, Cameron Johnson.
He said that while Netflix has used star ratings for much of its history, after a year of testing it learned that “many of our members are confused about what they do” – as other online services use stars as an overall rating rather than a means to offer recommendations, which is what Netflix used them for.
“In contrast, when people see thumbs, they know that they are used to teach the system about their tastes with the goal of finding more great content,” said Johnson. “That’s why when we tested replacing stars with thumbs we saw an astounding 200% increase in ratings activity.”
Under the new system, a thumbs-up tells Netflix that a viewer likes something and wants to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down lets it know they aren’t interested in watching that title and Netflix should stop suggesting it.
“You can still search for it, but we’ve heard what you were trying to tell us – you aren’t a fan – and it will no longer show up on your homepage,” said Johnson. “The more you teach us about your unique tastes, the better job we can do suggesting your next great binge-worthy show or that perfect title for movie night.”