Netflix Originals Were Plagued by Worsening Reviews When Netflix Pulled the Plug on User Review Program

Netflix Originals Were Plagued by Worsening Reviews When Netflix Pulled the Plug on User Review Program

Netflix retired its user reviews feature on July 31 of this year, citing “declining usage.” But analysis of user rating data performed by Cordcutting.com suggests that the streaming giant may have had an ulterior motive: Netflix’s original content was faring increasingly poorly in the years leading up to Netflix’s decision.

Netflix has been churning out more and more original productions (self-commissioned and not) each year since 2011. It’s no secret that the company’s reputation with critics has eroded as its output has increased. But in the case of Netflix’s built-in review system, the critics panning the latest Netflix shows were the Netflix users themselves.

Quantity, not quality, has been Netflix’s original content strategy of late

Working with data collected from Netflix’s website prior to the July 31 takedown date, we found that the average user ratings of Netflix’s original series and movies had been declining steadily every year since 2012 before being eliminated in 2018.

After peaking in 2012, average aggregate review scores for Netflix originals have plunged from 4.2 to 3.2 out of five (a drop of 24%)

Some originals still enjoyed positive reviews in Netflix’s system and in broader media, but the productions in aggregate saw review scores slip by 24 percent from their 2012 high as more and more of Netflix’s originals garnered mediocre or outright bad reviews. Netflix’s review system predated all of its original series and movies, and it’s fair to ask if user reviews simply aren’t a wise business move for a company that creates and owns some of its content. When that content is getting battered by bad user reviews, the answer seems obvious.

Netflix isn’t conceding that its originals’ poor reviews had anything to do with the end of the review program, but the decision does spare the still-increasing slate of originals from whatever critical ire might otherwise have been laid on them in 2019.

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on Cordcutting.com and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

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