Netflix’s 5-star rating system will soon change in favor of a thumbs-up / thumbs-down system, Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin said in a press briefing. This kind of change will be first of its kind in several years for Netflix.

Yellin said “Five stars feels very yesterday now. We’re spending many billions of dollars on the titles we’re producing and licensing, and with these big catalogs, that just adds a challenge.” He added that “bubbling up the stuff people actually want to watch is super important.”

rating thumbs up

The change is supposed to happen in April and will roll out globally.(Some customers may still see star ratings in your Netflix account for a short while longer.) Yellin believes that at the end of the day, Its about getting more people to rate the movies and tv shows. And with the binary thumbs up/ thumbs down system, there’s an implicit understanding that people are doing it to improve their own experience rather than trying to rate it for the rest of the world.

“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie 10 times more frequently?” Yellin said. “What you do versus what you say you like are different things.”

rating thumbs up

Another interesting point on this: Netflix is “matching” members based on a global database of activity, not segmenting it by local markets. The company found that its customers are surprisingly willing to watch Netflix content that has been produced in other countries or has subtitles. “We’re finding these clusters of people and then we’re figuring out who is like you, who enjoys these kinds of things, and then we’re mixing and matching those,” Yellin explained.