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Netflix is replacing star ratings with a simple thumbs-up/thumbs-down system

Why it matters to you

The new system should lead to more accurate movie recommendations for an improved Netflix experience.

If the critic in you loves nothing more than star-rating a Netflix movie once the credits start to roll, you’ll be disappointed to learn that the streaming giant is about to ditch the option.

Instead, starting in April, you’ll be able to give a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down opinion in the same way as you do on Spotify Radio and other similar services. Netflix says the new method proved popular in testing, and will help its recommendation engine to surface more accurate movie suggestions for users.

Star ratings are “very yesterday”

Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin announced the upcoming change during a press gathering at the company’s head office in Los Gatos, California, on Thursday, The Verge reported. Yellin said the star-rating system “feels very yesterday,” adding that he believes the new system will be much better for “bubbling up the stuff people actually want to watch, [which] is super important.”

Netflix decided to change its rating system after testing the thumbs method with hundreds of thousands of subscribers last year. Comparing the two methods, the company discovered that users were overwhelmingly more likely to rate a movie when given a binary choice than when faced with the traditional star-rating system.

If, as a Netflix user, you’re more inclined to rate movies you’ve watched, the algorithms have a better chance of offering up content you’re more likely to enjoy. This, in theory, should make for happier users who, to Netflix’s delight, will be more likely to fork out for continued service.

Of course, another way of discovering awesome content on Netflix is by checking out DT’s carefully curated movie lists, which are updated every month.

More: Netflix reveals trailer, premiere date for Dave Chappelle’s new comedy specials

Yellin said that following testing, the streaming service is also going to extend the use of percentage ratings that are created via more algorithmic wizardry. The percentage figure is tailored to the individual user according to their viewing habits and previous ratings, and so should give the user some idea of how likely they are to enjoy the flick.

Notably, the algorithms are crunching data on a global basis rather than by a country or regional basis. Yellin said its stats show viewers seem more than happy to watch good content from other markets, and so the company wants to pull all the data together to offer a broad range of quality content for users.

So how do you feel about Netflix ditching the star-rating system. Thumbs up or thumbs down?