by Graham Pierrepoint
Those of us old enough and nerdy enough to remember the early days of YouTube will recall a simpler time when we were able to rate videos out of five stars as opposed to two thumbs – one up, one down – and for the longest time, Netflix has carried on this similar route. With YouTube, it was determined that the ratings system should be streamlined – and this way, it has helped video developers study exactly what connects well with certain people. While some people will always downvote certain videos for the sake of doing so, it remains to be said that this two vote system is all the more rather straightforward. It’s helped us, on the outside, to understand how certain media is being perceived, too!
Netflix, meanwhile, has kept their ratings system fairly solid as a result of attempting to tailor certain programmes to viewers’ tastes. This, for the most part, does work rather well. However, it has resulted in some critically derided movies being rated the same as those which are considered cinematic classics – it’s never been too clear, on the viewer side of things, exactly how these ratings are decided and how many people sway in certain directions. It’s been decided that the streaming platform will, in fact, follow YouTube’s lead all those years ago – and move to a thumbs-up thumbs-down system.
The move comes as Netflix VP Todd Yellin was quoted as saying that the old five star system felt ‘very yesterday’ – and he isn’t wrong. The move is thought to help simplify the way in which we rate our favorite and least-favorite TV shows and movies, and it may even improve the way in which we perceived what is well-loved and what isn’t. Some critics have been vocal about the change, concerned that the shift may result in a browsing system that has just been made even harder to navigate. We won’t know if this is the case, of course, until Netflix rolls out such changes. They are set to be brought in as of April, and the firm will hope that it helps to improve recommendations delivered to individual users.
Arguments against the change to Netflix’s rating platform state that the system is fine as it is – but after extensive testing, the provider found there to be more user engagement with a simpler ratings platform. We will simply have to see just how effective it is in a month’s time!