On reading the news about Netflix switching to the Facebook 'thumbs up/down' system of rating instead of the more traditional star scale, and seeing that it was on the basis of an overwhelming increase in people providing feedback, I wondered if was really an indication of trends changing in how people provide feedback.
It seems logical that if you are comparing the amount of feedback or engagement between the five start rating with the thumbs up/down rating, it is not hard to see that more people will find it easier to provide feedback because mentally it is an easier decision to make. The general argument with providing a finer degree of measure (as with the debate on a five or seven point scale) is that there are subtle differences you can detect that gets buried because you are not measuring those differences like the variation in the number of star ratings given to create the average. And on the other end of the scale, a more generic measure (such as the NPS score) is suppose to capture the change without giving you an understanding of underlying changes, but prevents you from reading too much into variation that may not reflect the overall change in the trend.
But if you get back to the point of whether a five point scale is a suitable measure of the quality of a movie, most people would say that it is inadequate, simply because a single five point scale doesn't capture all the different aspects of a movie that people factor in to provide a rating, and we don't necessarily compare movies objectively either. This is why in the case of hotel ratings, you'll find that some sites have increased their rating to incorporate multiple categories. This has allowed users to get a better understanding of which aspects of the hotel is rated and how it is weighted, so if they are willing to sacrifice price for convenience then they are more confident of making that choice.
It seems to me that if you wanted a more accurate system of matching movie choices with users then you would take the approach of creating a more detailed rating/review system. Even websites like Rotten Tomato has a reasonably sophisticated system that is not just based on % ratings. However, the fact that Netflix has taken the other approach seems to suggest that because people are viewing more things these days, it means that they don't necessarily spend as much time thinking about or evaluating the things that they watch. If you compare this to websites reviewing books, perhaps simply a thumbs up/down review wouldn't be adequate.
My question is whether the decision by Netflix to change the rating system actually serves the purpose of providing a more accurate review and matching of movie viewing preferences, since you generally have to try and measure more to understand things better?