EngEd Community

Section’s Engineering Education (EngEd) Program fosters a community of university students in Computer Science related fields of study to research and share topics that are relevant to engineers in the modern technology landscape. You can find more information and program guidelines in the GitHub repository. If you're currently enrolled in a Computer Science related field of study and are interested in participating in the program, please complete this form .

Multi-Output Classification with Machine Learning

January 21, 2022

Multi-output classification is a type of machine learning that predicts multiple outputs simultaneously. In multi-output classification, the model will give two or more outputs after making any prediction. In other types of classifications, the model usually predicts only a single output.

An example of a multi-output classification model is a model that predicts the type and color of fruit simultaneously. The type of fruit can be, orange, mango and pineapple. The color can be, red, green, yellow, and orange. The multi-output classification solves this problem and gives two prediction results.

In this tutorial, we will build a multi-output text classification model using the Netflix dataset. The model will classify the input text as either TV Show or Movie. This will be the first output. The model will also classify the rating as: TV-MA, TV-14, TV-PG, R, PG-13 and TV-Y. The rating will be the second output. We will use Scikit-Learn MultiOutputClassifier algorithm to build this model.

Table of contents


To understand the concepts in this tutorial, a reader should:

Netflix dataset

We will use the Netflix dataset to build our model. The image below will show how our dataset is structured.

Dataset image

From the image above, our dataset has four columns: title, description, type, and rating. The title column will be the input column while type and rating will be the output column. We now need to load this dataset on our machine.

To download this Netflix dataset, click here

Loading the dataset

There are various exploratory data analysis (EDA) packages that will load our dataset. Let’s import them using the following code:

import pandas as pd
import numpy as np

We will use Pandas to load the dataset. We will use Numpy to perform computational operations on our dataset. It also works well with arrays.

Let’s now load the Netflix dataset that you have downloaded from the link above.

df = pd.read_csv("netflix_titles_dataset.csv")

To check if our dataset is loaded successfully, run the code:


This command will output the structure of our dataset, and it shows all the columns on our dataset. It should have the same structure as the dataset you have downloaded. The output is shown below:

Loaded dataset

Now that we have loaded our dataset successfully, let’s check the distribution of our target/output columns.

Output columns distribution

From our dataset, we have two output columns: type and rating. Column distribution is the value count of each column in the entire dataset. We will start with the type column.

type column


The output is shown below:

Movie      4788
TV Show    2143
Name: type, dtype: int64

In the output above, we have 4788 movie data samples and 2143 TV Show data samples.

rating column

To get the value count of the rating column, use the following code:


The output is shown below:

TV-MA    2863
TV-14    1931
TV-PG     806
R         665
PG-13     386
TV-Y      280
Name: rating, dtype: int64

The output above shows the distribution of all the ratings in our dataset. We have seven ratings: TV-MA, TV-14, TV-PG, R, PG-13 and TV-Y.

Before building our model, we also need to clean our dataset. Dataset cleaning involves correctly formatting our dataset.

Text cleaning

For text cleaning, we will convert all our text data into lower case and remove stop words. We will use the NeatText Python package to perform this process. We will install Neattext using the following code:

!pip install neattext

Let’s import the Neattext functions that we will use for text cleaning.

import neattext.functions as nfx

To convert the text data into lower case, run this command:

df['title'] = df['title'].nfx.lower()

Let’s remove stopwords from our test dataset. Stopwords are the most common words that are used in any language. They have little weight on the model during training.

Removing stopwords removes words with little weight. This allows the model to focus on the words that will have a greater impact during training.

To remove the stopwords, run this code:

df['title'] = df['title'].apply(nfx.remove_stopwords)

Now that we have removed stop words and correctly formatted our dataset, let’s import all the packages we will use to build the model.

Importing important packages

To import all the important packages, run this code:

from sklearn.linear_model import LogisticRegression
from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import CountVectorizer
from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
from sklearn.metrics import accuracy_score
from sklearn.multioutput import MultiOutputClassifier

Let’s explain these packages that we have imported.

LogisticRegression It is the algorithm used to train the model.

CountVectorizer Since we are dealing with text, we need to convert the input text into vectors of numbers. Machine learning models do not understand the raw text. The converted vectors of numbers are the representation of the original text.

CountVectorizer is the most common Python package used to perform this process.

For further reading on CountVectorizer and how they convert raw text into vectors of numbers, click here

train_test_split It is the Python package that is used for dataset splitting. In machine learning, it’s essential to split a dataset into two sets. One set is to be used for training and another one for testing.

accuracy_score It is used to calculate the accuracy score of the model after training.

MultiOutputClassifier Since we are dealing with a multi-output classification problem, we need a more specific algorithm. MultiOutputClassifier is the most common Scikit-learn algorithm used to build this model.

We now need to specify features and labels for our model.

Adding features and labels

Features and labels are essential in any machine learning label. Features represent all the columns used by the model as inputs during training. Labels represent the output or target columns, which the model wants to predict. We add the using the following code:

Xfeatures = df['title']
ylabels = df[['type','rating']]

From this code, our feature is the title, and we will use it as input for our model. The labels are type and rating, and are the output of our model. We have two labels because we are dealing with a multi-output classification problem.

The next step is to split our dataset using the train_test_split method.

Dataset splitting

To split the dataset into two, use this code:

x_train,x_test,y_train,y_test = train_test_split(Xfeatures,ylabels,test_size=0.3,random_state=7)

In the code above, we use a test_size=0.3. It will split our dataset so that 70% of the dataset is used for training and 30% for testing. We have split our dataset, and we are now ready to build the model.

To build this model, we will use the machine learning pipeline package to speed up the process of building our model. It will speed up the process by automating all the processes involved in building the model.

The machine learning pipeline will automate the process of CountVectorizer. It will also automate the process of model training using LogisticRegression and MultiOutputClassifier algorithms.

We will import the Pipeline package to implement this pipeline process.

Importing pipeline

To import the Pipeline, use the following code:

from sklearn.pipeline import Pipeline

To build the model using this Pipeline package, we need to initialize all the processes involved in building our model. In our case, we have two processes.

The first process is CountVectorizer: converting raw text to vectors of numbers. The second process uses the LogisticRegression and MultiOutputClassifier algorithms in training the model.

Let’s initialize these two processes.

Initializing the processes

These processes are usually in sequential steps. The output of one process is used as the input of the next process, as shown in the code below.

pipe_lr = Pipeline(steps=[('cv',CountVectorizer()),

Now that we have initialized the processes, let’s fit the pipeline into our training dataset. This will enable the model to learn from the dataset. To fit the pipeline, use the following code:


The two processes will run automatically during this stage and produce a trained model, as shown below:

Training process

We can calculate the accuracy score of this model using the following code:


The accuracy score is shown below:


The accuracy score for our model is 0.896922. This represents 89.6922%. It is a good accuracy score, and we can use this trained model to make predictions.

Making predictions

To make a prediction, we need to extract a sample input text. To extract a sample text, run this code:


The output of this sample text is the midnight sky. Let’s save this text in a variable.

pred1 = x_test.iloc[0]

The model will use this input text to make a prediction. The model should classify the input text as either a Movie or TV Show and provide its rating.

To make this prediction, run this code:


The prediction output is shown below:

array([['Movie', 'TV-MA']], dtype=object)

From the output above, the model has produced two prediction outputs. It has classified the input text as a Movie with a rating of TV-MA. Therefore, we have successfully built our multi-output text classification model.

We can also calculate the prediction probability of these outputs. This enables us to know why the model made these predictions.

Prediction probabilities

To calculate the probabilities, use the following code:


The output is shown below:

[array(['Movie', 'TV Show'], dtype=object), array(['PG-13', 'R', 'TV-14', 'TV-MA', 'TV-PG', 'TV-Y'], dtype=object)]
[array([[0.74445483, 0.25554517]]),
 array([[0.12310188, 0.07038494, 0.21476461, 0.46916205, 0.10270243,

From the output above, we can see Movie had a higher probability of 0.74445483 than 0.25554517 of TV Show. That’s why the model classified the text as Movie.

In the next prediction, TV-MA has a higher probability of 0.46916205 than the other rating. That’s why the model classified the rating as TV-MA. Using these prediction probabilities, we can see that our model could make the right predictions.


In this tutorial, we have learned how to build a multi-output classification model. We started by cleaning our Netflix dataset to ensure that we correctly formatted it before use. We then used the clean dataset to build the multi-output text classification model.

We used the LogisticRegression and MultiOutputClassifier algorithms to train the model. We implemented all the machine learning processes using the pipeline package. It sped up the process and made our work easier.

Finally, we used our model to make predictions, and the trained model could make the right predictions. To get the multi-output classification model we have built in this tutorial, click here.


Peer Review Contributions by: Willies Ogola