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Netflix Update Changes How Users Rate, Watch Shows

Reed Hastings of Netflix
Reed Hastings of Netflix
Netflix Update Changes How Users Rate, Watch Shows
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The media streaming business Netflix is changing how users can rate and find shows. The new method is designed to better connect viewers with shows they might like. The changes may save you some time as you binge-watch your favorite shows.

Netflix User Rating Update

No longer will users be able to use stars (*****) to rate what they watch on Netflix.

The update changes user ratings to a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down system. This makes it simpler for viewers to post ratings and is similar to YouTube ratings.

Netflix Ratings Update
Netflix Ratings Update

The company has been testing the new up or down system with hundreds of thousands of users around the world.

Results showed that viewers were 200% more likely to rate a show with a thumbs up or thumbs down system than a five-star scale. Netflix wants to encourage more viewers to rate shows. So, it went with the up or down system.

Netflix also hopes that the up and down ratings will better predict which shows viewers enjoy. The company discovered that viewers' star ratings did not indicate what shows they were more likely to watch.

For example, many viewers rated documentaries higher than comedy shows, although they watched comedies more often. With the five-star rating system, viewers seemed to be rating whether others would enjoy a show, but with the up and down ratings they voted on what they liked themselves.

Netflix Updates Recommendations

The update also changes how Netflix suggests shows for users, based on their past likes and ratings.

Netflix will use a percentage measure to indicate how closely a show matches a user’s preferences. If you see a “95%” next to a listed show, Netflix is almost certain you will enjoy it. On the other hand, you might want to ignore a movie rated as a 50% match.

And that is as low as the system will go. Netflix will not report percentages below 50. If a show does not have a percentage noted, it could mean Netflix does not think you will like it. But it also could mean that Netflix does not have enough information to know whether you would like it.

This update will begin in April and be available to users over the next few months.

Skip Intro Update

Netflix is also currently testing a “Skip Intro” button that lets users fast-forward through opening credits of a show. If you are a binge-watcher you are likely to enjoy this new feature.

Some Netflix viewers have already seen the Skip Intro button on original Netflix series and on other television shows, when watching Netflix on their computers.

Of course, you are still free to watch the intro if you would like. The “Skip Intro” button is optional.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Would you be more likely to give a show a star rating or a thumbs up or down rating? Do you like the new matching feature on Netflix?

Have you seen the Skip Intro Button? Would you use it? Do you hope Netflix makes the Skip Intro button available to everyone?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on our Facebook page.


Words in This Story

binge-watch - v. watch multiple episodes of a show, typically by means of digital streaming.

scale - n. a range of numbers that is used to show the size, strength, or quality of something ​

encourage - v. to make (something) more appealing or more likely to happen

indicate - v. to show that (something) exists or is true

documentary - n. a movie or television program that tells the facts about actual people and events

percentage - n. a number or rate that is expressed as a certain number of parts of something divided into 100 parts

match - v. to be suited to (someone or something)

preference - n. a feeling of liking or wanting one person or thing more than another person or thing

intro - n. a short introduction to something (such as a performance or a musical work)

credits - n. (plural) a list of the names of the people who have worked on or performed in a movie, television program, etc.

optional - adj. available as a choice but not required