Good movies can be boring, and bad movies can be fun, but forcing users to rate movies using a five-star rating system can cause them to forget that, which is why Netflix wants to replace it with something better. The current rating system encourages users to rate movies and television shows based on their quality, rather than how enjoyable they were, and this screws up Netflix’s recommendation system. Because of this, the company is working on a simple like/dislike system to replace the current one, as well as some form of percent match, similar to how Rotten Tomatoes works.
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.