Netflix Officially Kills Star Ratings, Replacing Them With Thumbs Up and Down

House of Cards
Courtesy of Netflix

Will Netflix users give a thumbs up or down to its latest change?

The No. 1 streaming-subscription service announced that on Wednesday it is retiring its longstanding five-star rating systems for content recommendations. Instead, users will rate TV shows and movies they like using a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

Netflix revealed the plans to phase out star ratings last month, prompting a wave of complaints among users who have grown to love the feature.

Instead of the star rating next to each title, Netflix users will see a personalized percentage “match score.” That’s a prediction “of what Netflix thinks you may enjoy watching, based on your own unique tastes,” Cameron Johnson, the company’s director of product innovation, wrote in a blog post. The match score is based solely on algorithms analyzing a user’s individual viewing habits and behavior, not a measure of overall popularity among all Netflix viewers.


Stranger Things

Netflix Replacing Star Ratings With Thumbs Ups and Thumbs Downs

According to Netflix, the thumbs-based ratings will produce far more accurate recommendations for what you want to watch — and, according to Johnson, many users have been confused about what the five-star ratings were used for. The company says when it tested out thumbs ratings, it saw a 200% increase in ratings activity.

If Netflix users give a TV show or movie a thumbs down, they will still be able to find it by searching for it, but it will no longer show up on their homepage.

“The more you teach us about your unique tastes, the better job we can do suggesting your next great binge-worthy show or that perfect title for movie night,” Johnson wrote.

Netflix says it will continue to factor in subscribers’ previous star ratings to suggest content.

Watch a video from Netflix explaining the change in its rating system:

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  1. wyatt says:


    But c’mon guys, I truly appreciate (past tense?) how you guys let me know how popular something is or isn’t! Now I have to watch something that sucks & then report my abduction from commercial free happiness? That’s a lot of lost, painful hours (if it ain’t broke) the whole NETFLIX world of people who love a certain show, can’t be wrong!! & if they are, it’s likely a single digit %age…

    Here’s an idea… How about you just use both, everybody wins.
    Where the hell are the top execs on that one?? i’m standing here
    in my underwear… with way better ideas, haha… this can’t be a fiscal or quarterly thing…
    You guys are one of the top two or three gems of the
    ‘Digital Future of Entertainment’ world. (patten pending) by me
    LET’S GET OUR SHIT TOGETHER KIDS!! Obviously you can’t pull out now, I get that.
    But this mentally diminished, umbilically strangled baby needs a C-Section.
    Continue with your new algorithmic (Put the people to work) program, but we
    the peeps will all testify, that we do not want to sit through crap tv, then comment!!
    We wanna know what everyone else thinks, eliminating one of your massive virtues
    is quantitatively guaranteed, gonna throw a chink in your chain. (not a slur)
    What’s next? Gonna implement commercials?? OMG hilariously scary.
    Another massive NETFLIX virtue universally appreciated.
    I’m freakin’ myself out over here.
    Don’t be offended… Just my… I wish I was humble, opinion.
    Hey guys incidentally, absolutely no disrespect, I would love a response…
    (not about my grammar) :)

  2. Todd says:

    You must be kidding with this new thumbs up, thumbs down system. I relied on the star rating as it was very accurate. The new system is flawed and as a matter of fact, it is stupid! If you want to introduce a thumbs up system similar to TiVo, it should be as well as the star rating. Seriously, fix it.

  3. Jemp says:

    This new rating system makes more sense then Donald Trump. No one likes this. If you dig deep, you’ll find that Netflix’s “testing” of the new system is flawed. It’s a concept that only a few individuals at the top really liked because all they can see are focus group results. And we all know that focus groups only give you what you want to know. It’s a numbers game.
    To the corporate overlords at Netflix, manage with your instincts. Don’t leverage bad ideas because a few people have proven that it provides a better service. That’s the downfall of large corporations that loose sight of simple notions. You only have to read these post and see that your customers are angry at this new move.
    I can see why you might want to move to a new algorithmic viewing system, but this isn’t it.
    This is the dumbing down of the masses.
    Thumbs UP . . . Thumbs Down . . . what does this say about the consumers intellect?
    It says we’re stupid, and we’re all better off with just a simple yes or no.

    If you want to know how consumers really feel, stop looking at numbers and listening to consultants. Put on some real work cloths and get in the mud. See what people are really thinking.

    Please, bring back a rating system.
    If not, at least give us a third option with the thumbs up, thumbs down.
    How about the middle finger!

    • Ian Lewis says:

      Bring back stars. They are just trying to get you to watch more without using ratings as a guide. It is very annoying.

      • Susan Reeder says:

        Agree, please bring back rating system. If not, I will cancel and stick with Amazon

  4. Angela Woods says:

    The percentage instead of five star is the dumbest thing ever…i stopped watching Netflix and plan on cancelling because of it. I now have movies with percentages and they are really bad movies. The whole system makes no sense. I hate it..i want to see how many stars a movie has before I waste my time on it.

  5. Susan says:

    I found the old system (5 stars) a surprisingly accurate mechanism to predict which films we would really like. I did take the trouble to rate lots of films we have seen, work that now seems wasted. We may not stay with Netflix now.

  6. Brian says:

    Terrible move Netflix. Bring back the star rating system!!!

  7. Jonathan says:

    this is simply a move to hide the fact that the subpar content far outnumbers the quality stuff. Now you have to find out if something’s worth watching by watching it.

  8. Camp says:

    So NetF wants me to watch the movie first before up/downing it. With stars, i can decide outright if I want to view stream it. I don’t see the percentage anywhere and even so, it has less meaning to me than stars.

  9. Hurt feelings says:

    People like schemer get hurt feelings so we must give in.

  10. cinephile says:

    As a long time (dvd AND stream) member for more than a decade, who is from San Jose, CA, and has rated several THOUSAND Netflix movies, I am disgusted at this simplistic & binary method which provides me no indication whatsoever about any movies. I believe I am poised to speak on this as such and have found the options that COULD have taken or SHOULD take place are/were this:
    1) Netflix asks their customers for their opinion on the ratings system before making a move
    2) Netflix could have two rating systems simultaneously (for those that argue algorithms exist(ed) both ways, then why not have both)
    3) Customers who rely on the 5 star method are now forced to migrate to other websites (which you kinda don’t want with today’s digital and fleeting attention span) to check out ratings to confirm or explore their watch list. I have never heard of a company that would want to their customers to LEAVE their website. Netflix is co-signing this so why not acknowledge it?
    4) Customers can join in Netflix’s (aka Yellin’s) flippant remark about being antiquated and just VOTE DOWN NETFLIX altogether and cancel their subscription(s). If I wanted to use this like a DATING system, I’d probably ALREADY be on a date. How do you mess up even “Netflix and Chill” and take it this far by comparing it to such. Netflix is not a dating app: newsflash! If so, it’s time to “see other people: because “it’s not YOU, it’s ME.”
    6) Movie watching truly involves COMMUNITY and CRAFT and while people do not necessarily DEPEND on what other people think (some really do rightfully so), they might quite like having the choice to see HOW others think and choose accordingly (or not)! Netflix could take a message from a non-“antiquated” biz book called Think Big Act Small: “Once you have decided to listen to your customers , you need to make sure you are responding to what they really want and know exactly what they are talking about.” (see most folks who watch movies like to READ, too). A Lot. Here’s hoping Netflix will read all that is being said about them on this topic. Which brings me to:
    7) Netflix could have a spot where you DIRECTLY provide feedback on the website. If customers are clueless sheeple and can only accommodate pushing up or down on the great big fum (side note: what could that say about the content then really?), surely they are not capable of communicating properly or have valid feedback and thoughts- so just do away (wait, has it ever BEEN there?) with customer service via e-mail, chat (oooooh, that has been inactive lately- so serendipitous!), and phone wait times (hmmm, maybe those same said people could always just dial 1-800-585-7265 or 1-866-579-7172 and then walk away from their phones or keep hitting redial since they shan’t be able to compose a complaint letter and mail it to: Netflix, Inc 100 Winchester Circle Los Gatos, CA 95032).
    8) Netflix could fix the problem and admit: Ooops! We thought we knew better than you (paid subscribers) since we are so used to “recommending” things all the time, but clearly that is NOT the case and we see that now…what, with all the emotional backlash and posts and such. No one loves a company more than one which messes up badly and then rectifies the problem (swiftly). T minus ten.
    9) Those that do have time to waste (not those that are so [insert adjective here] to only vote up or down per the cool and “current” Netflix who is choosing to leave their most loyal customers in the dust) can commence going to their Netflix search bar, typing “netflix original”, and then downvoting all that low hanging fruit, because, hey, even if you dislike it just a smidge, it deserves to be thumbs down or nothing according them (and that would include their own content, right?) Dumb.
    and lastly, something I’ve always wondered,
    10) Netflix could actually FOCUS on featuring (and highlight) the HIGHEST RATINGS, MOST LIKED, and even NEWEST(not antiquated!) movies IN GENERAL instead of telling me what I want to watch. Please don’t tell me the up/down is what will solve this, because if that was the idea, I’d rather be able to REMOVE categories/banners, low rated movies, and crappy content from my sight . Period.

    Excuse any grammar, typos, etc as this topic is a little incendiary to me. Change what the stars say, make it a scale of 1 to 10 or only 4 stars, etc. but DO NOT tell movie lovers (your primary and first customers if you will recall) to resort to “Love It or Hate It” and that’s it. “What is food to one man may be a fierce poison to others”- Lucretius

  11. Rod Gravens says:

    As soon as I saw the that Netflix replaced the star system with the utterly useless thumbs up/down system, I reduced from full service to streaming only; and if Netflix does not change back to the star system soon (or better yet, just showing the rotten tomatoes rating for each movie) I will be cancelling altogether. There are better options, and this KILLED the usefulness of Netflix for me. I give them 30 days more, and if they don’t respond to the negative wave of disappointed viewers, I’m gone for good.

  12. Lisa says:

    Netflix is losing my watch time because of the new system. What was a truly democratic system has gone by the wayside because of elitist thinking (as in “how dare thousands of people give an Oscar nominated movie that sucks a 2-star review!” fumed the movie exec. He thinks: “I know–change the rating system and we’ll trick the proletariat into watching garbage!”)…Sorry, Netflix, we just TURN IT OFF.

  13. alex says:

    bye bye netflix. Goin to Amazon.

  14. Wilson says:

    Garbage belongs in the trash, like this idea, trash.

  15. Andy Reading says:

    So now I have to watch several 10min intro’s of bad films before resorting to a DVD to watch something worth my time. Bad system Netflix…or was this just a ploy to disguise all those bad films no-one wants to watch? Amazon will get my cash now.

  16. John Donaldson says:

    I’m really struggling to figure out how to pick movies on Netflix without stars. The up/down thumb method is not informative so I’m lost.

    I discovered that Netflix DVD still has stars. Also I can look at IMDB then search Netflix for a movie I’ve picked on IMDB but that is a tedious process.

    I find myself using Amazon most of the time now.

  17. Fred Z says:

    I’m slow to react, but I’m with the NetFlix haters now.

    NetFlix is cramming all kinds of SJW leftist crapola into their new programming and then claiming it matches my taste. Liars, bastard faced liars. I’m cancelling.

    What’s more, I’m selling a rather large block of NetFlix stock. I’ve done well, but all I see is disaster ahead for them, and for me if I hold.

  18. Bob says:

    Byebye Netstinks. Try avoiding Poundland the next time you buy more movies.

  19. Constantine says:

    Good job Netshit. I’ll be canceling your asses. Stick with Hulu and amazon

  20. Harate says:

    The stars allowed you to acknowledge that you liked a movie (3 star) without giving it the scoring weight of a movie you loved (5 star.)

    I don’t understand how creating two absolute options would improve the personal algorithm at all. I would be inclined to not rate a movie at all if I didn’t absolutely hate it or love it. How could that be helpful for the overall statistics?

    Comparing it to dating apps shows the true intent. Dumber engagement mechanics for dumb people. They don’t care about the fine tuning of suggestions for movie buffs. They want to know if the morons liked or disliked a particular episode of their proprietary content.

  21. Peter says:

    This new rating system gets 5 thumbs down from me!!!!!

  22. bliz says:

    thanks for whining amy schumer….

  23. JimS says:

    I have no idea why Netflix thinks that I want to know what they think I think. I get some value from an overall average star rating. I get no value from ratings that don’t consider quality.

  24. says:

    Once Amazon videos prime gets so much juice i’ll be canceling netflix thanks to their new retarded rating skills.

  25. Garry says:

    This thumbs up/down seems to try and match genres. It ignores quality (probably good for netflix, considering how poor Iron Fist is). So if you like lots of Marvel movies etc. it will now try and suggest Luke Cage and Iron Fist as high matches, completely ignoring the fact that they’re both substandard crap. I can understand genres all on my own. I merely want to find good examples of them. Now i have to read reviews of shows on third party sites before watching something. So the process just got a lot ess user friendly.

  26. David says:

    There are certain movies that you will never get a rating on. For example I just watched “Fire In The Sky.” It was relatively bad. But not full on thumbs down bad. And obviously doesn’t get a thumbs up either. Come on Netflix, this is ridiculous. I give it 2 stars. I give the thumbs system 0 stars.

  27. Mary Daniel says:

    I love Netflix! However, I do not like the change from stars to thumbs. Whatever algorithm they used with stars was working just fine with its recommendations for me. The stars allowed a selection of assessments. Please, Netflix, change it back!

  28. I am very sad to see the best rating system go. The star system was great and one of the main reasons I preffered Netflix over Amazon where the stars are based on popularity, not my taste for movies. If the star system was replaced for a percentage for every movie I would be OK with it. But I can see that only a few movies are showing the percentage and not others. Also…there is a lot more than: I like it (thumbs up) and I don’t like it (thumbs down)…How about I loved it!… how about I liked it, but not my favorite movie…I think Netflix is underestimating their users.

  29. PaulCire says:

    This is what happens when big business make shortsighted changes for personal gain at the expense of its consumers, and then disguise it as an “improvement” to their service/product. I hope Netflix loses a nice chunk of paying customers for such a foul, transparent scam. By the way Shitflix, your rating system is a joke. Shitflix says I have a 96% compatibility with a child’s cartoon…even though I’ve never watched cartoons. Morons!

    • Howard says:

      Totally agree this rating system is worse than the previous system. This rating system is a way to cover up the poor movies being offered by Netfilx

    • Kaput says:

      Yes, the new percentage is a joke. A movie I previously rated 2 starts showed a match at 98% (that was last week)

      Now, I cannot see any recommendations. List on browser does not show anything (used to show stars), the show does not show a percentage, and same on my Roku, So I am not sure where it all disappeared.

    • Sean Feehan says:

      Yeah tell me about it, it thought I would like some stupid ass indian movie, i’m like… I’m an American and I don’t watch shit if it ain’t in English why the hell would I want this?

  30. Andy Bird says:

    Netflix propaganda ensures the individual is unaware of collective opinion, making themselves less culpable to their wider paying audience. All under the dubious guise of tailored viewing. Frankly I’m not fooled by it and will be leaving Netflix. Well done!

  31. Jeff says:

    as of today (April 10) I still have the star ratings when I use Netflix through my Roku. The star ratings ended on my mobile and PC apps on April 5 but for some reason the Roku app is unchanged.

  32. John says:

    That new system rated me almost 90% match for Steven Seagal, which I would never watch in a billion years. Movies can can not be compaired to a stupid comment or photo that you can “like”! Something can be tolerable to one and perfectly wonderful to another. It’s up to the viewer to make the choice if they want to take a risk on a marginal star rating. Now I have to go outside of Netflix to see what people are saying about a movie? My movie watching has already be cut in half because the this horrible idea.

  33. Vail says:

    Such a silly thing to do, is it really too “hard” for people to rate something between 1-4 stars? I do not feel just positive or just negatively about every thing I watch on Netflix, so this latest dumbing down is not useful for me. No one I know is enjoying this at all.

  34. Dale Huhtala says:

    I give the new rating system a thumbs down. Does that mean it won’t show up anymore?

    There’s a lot of garbage shows on Netflix. The 1 or 2 stars tells me not to waste my time. If others give it a thumbs down, I probably won’t see that.

    Not a good plan.

    Thumbs down, Netflix!

  35. Christina says:

    I hate the new system. It feels like a slap in the face to long-time, loyal subscribers. Why dummy down something that works? Where are all these stupid people who couldn’t navigate a 5 star rating system?

    • John Donaldson says:

      I’m really struggling to figure out how to pick movies on Netflix without stars. The up/down thumb method is not informative so I’m lost.

      I discovered that Netflix DVD still has stars. Also I can look at IMDB then search Netflix for a movie I’ve picked on IMDB but that is a tedious process.

      I find myself using Amazon most of the time now.

      I will not contribute to the new system. I may watch something but I have ceased rating anything.

      I tried to delete my 10 years of ratings but it has to be one one at a time.

  36. ewa budzianowski says:

    On average your star system used to work with some exceptions.. So ideally I would rather choose a critic/site I can check the movie I intend to watch, For me such site is Ebert. They still maintain very high standards and I can relay on their reviews. I always agree with them. I don’t think you can incorporate such a feature as a link to a chosen, reliable site.

    • Vail says:

      >> For me such site is Ebert<<

      Huh? Roger Ebert, who is not alive?
      Good heavens. I always disagreed with him anyway, so that is still not helpful. Perhaps I am not understanding you correctly? .

      • WolfLady says:

        “Vail” here seems to have an attitude problem. If you can’t play nicely with the other kids, then please stay home and keep your snide remarks to yourself. The comments that are “not helpful” here are *yours.*

  37. TheCritic says:

    I rate Netflix’s new rating system thumb down and a middle finger.

  38. Thedude3445 says:

    Absolutely usless, especially to someone like me whose recommendations are already out of whack because of my extremely rare use of 5 star ratings, which the algorithm does not seem to understand (I constantly have 4.6,4.8-star recommendations that I end up rating a 3). I cannot rate movies on a binary scale.

  39. WolfLady says:

    Very few people who subscribe to Netflix actually take the time to research online reviews of movies or shows. They depend on the aggregate star votes on Netflix to help them make decisions. If I see a movie listed with two stars, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be stinker. With Netflix’s star rating system, I liked the fact that I could save myself a lot of time (and groans) by avoiding bad shows with bad star ratings. The only reason I can think of for doing away with a good system like that would be some sort of monetary motive. Perhaps filmmakers are giving Netflix a financial incentive to remove a system that can shine a negative light on some of their shows. Otherwise, the stated (convoluted) reason that Netflix is giving for doing away with the star system and replacing it with a totally useless up or down vote is utter nonsense.

    • Vail says:

      Lalalalal lots of words, folks, not necessary they did it because stupid FaceBook has become the standard for everything, and you are being treated like idiots. Or as someone above mentioned, a bit of a slap in the face. Write to Netflix, tell them this is not acceptable.

  40. Mathew says:

    I have been using Netflix since 2013. I always enjoyed the star rating system. I am not yet use to the thumbs up and down rating system. I would rather have the star rating system.

    • Vail says:

      Four whole years, wow. 2002 here, and back then I thought “Well, this is great for those of us who cannot go to films at the Movie Theater, but how will they survive with just the shut-ins?” Wacky how it actually worked with people who can leave their houses.

  41. Caroline L Philpot says:

    the movies they show as 4 and 5 star are garbage. I am sick of all the foreign films I have to read and try and watch at the same time as well as the ones I cannot understand what the heck they are saying. This way they can still keep their 5 star rating showing to other viewers and get them to watch the garbage as the rating cannot go down with a thumbs up or down rating. I too am getting ready to cancel this movie streaming and try someone else. I want to enjoy my movies, understand what is being said, and not have to read and try and watch at the same time. Netflix sucks!

  42. Brad Miller says:

    If it wasnt for a handful of series like Stranger Things, Narcos, Peaky Blinders, OITNB, I would cancel today. This new rating system which I already hate, just means I have to wade through more garbage content than in the past without any way of sorting out said garbage. And for those that have been on Netflix for years now like me, you know outside of their original series, the overall content has gotten worse due to Amazon Prime and others.

  43. ChairmanMaose says:

    Change it back now!! Netflix is trying to dupe people into watching the mediocre and the stinkers that are so prevalent on the service. The star system worked too well an that was the problem. If the service wasn’t so inexpensive they would loose subscribers galore with such mediocrity.

  44. Monty says:

    i hate the fact that all of these damn websites want to predict what i want to watch, or look at, or buy.. people change.. how do i find something new if it’s always based on something else i might i have liked or bought in the past.. i want to know what’s popular to the masses, not what’s popular to me

  45. nerdrage says:

    I don’t mind the switch to thumbs but I’m highly suspicious of the way Iron Fist jumped from a barely four star to 98% match. Hmm. Somehow I doubt that. Maybe I should watch it till it bores me and thumbs-down it. Have to train this damn thing all over again???

  46. Luna Cascade says:

    My taste vary alot! I like a variety of genre weather that be older movies, classics or TV shows. Netflix don’t try and predict for me. My current subscription includes both streaming and dvd’s. But I find the limited selection for streaming is subpar. They really need to step up the streaming offerings. I’m probably going to cancel streaming for that reason. No thumbs up, thumbs down or star rating for me!

  47. stormbloom says:

    This is a major disappointment! The star ratings were pretty accurate from my perspective; I have found it impossible to tolerate any of their movies/shows that were minus more than two stars, now I have no ideas which movies those are. In fact, I can’t see anything about them until I hover on them, which means, if I WERE TO continue using netfilx — which I’m NOT GOING TO, I would be wasting so much more time trying to find something I can actually sit through.

    I’m not confused by the stars. N-flix just needs to accept that their releases are 90% garbage hence the low ratings. N-Flix is just making it harder for us to sift through the hand held ghost hunter movies and hitler documentaries.

    You want to make your site less confusing, change the name to B-Flix so people will know that it’s low quality garbage you are trying to push.

  48. Shane says:

    For those who are complaining that movies and shows they didn’t like are getting high percentage scores now, realize that the percentage scores are not only based on what you rated it but also your viewing history. So do as I have been doing in recent months (before this change even happened) and delete anything you didn’t like from your viewing history. Just keep the movies and shows that you enjoyed.

  49. This is just a way for Netflix to push mediocre content. They take away a system that lets people know the movie or show is a one or two star so they will be more likely to watch something Netflix did not pay much for. Quality content cost money and even though there may be some small truth to their personal ratting system you can bet their spreadsheets show increased profit at your expense. If you want Netflix to bring back the star system go to as many websites as possible and let people know what you think.

    • nerdrage says:

      I’ve definitely noticed some titles going from mediocre (3.5 stars or so) to suddenly a very strong match (95% or better). Something fishy is going on! Am I gonna have to go on a thumbs-downing tear here?

  50. Stan says:

    If Netflix goes the way the rest of the Internet has, soon they’ll eliminate the down-voting too (because someone’s little feelings might get hurt by down votes). Then you’ll only be able to up-vote or not vote at all.

    This change has ruined Netflix’s excellent predictive ratings. I’m sure I’ll end up watching less because of it.

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