The Netflix video rating system is flawed and the video streaming giant is evoking Siskel and Ebert in their remedy.
Netflix offerings are currently rated by viewers using a star system that averages viewers’ 1 to 5-star score, but the system often leaves popular movies with low ratings while documentaries earn top marks.
Netflix realized that explicit star ratings were less relevant than other signals. Users would rate documentaries with 5 stars, and silly movies with just 3 stars, but still watch silly movies more often than those high-rated documentaries.
The new system will use two measures to help viewers find videos – thumbs and behavior.
Content rating will be reduced to a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ similar to YouTube’s like/unlike feedback and harkening back to ‘At the Movies’ hosts Siskel and Ebert’s review metric.
Relevance will also decide which videos viewers may prefer. A new “percent-match” system will use the thumb rating and a consumer’s past viewing preferences to decide which content the viewer will like.
Netflix VP of Content told reporters on Friday that Netflix “made ratings less important because the implicit signal of your behavior is more important.”