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Netflix Kills Qwikster

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the on-second-thought dept.

Businesses 253

gclef writes "Netflix has apparently decided that spinning off their DVD business into a separate organization was a bad idea after all, and is killing off the 'Qwikster' concept. From the article: 'Less than a month ago, the Netflix said it would split the DVD rental business off on a new website, to be called Qwikster. Subscribers howled at the move, saying they saw Netflix as a destination for movies in general and didn’t want to manage two accounts. “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs,” CEO Reed Hastings said in the blog post.'"

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253 comments

Too little, too late (5, Insightful)

g051051 (71145) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662268)

It's obvious that NetFlix doesn't understand its customers anymore (if it ever did.) What I used to take as excellent customer focused strategy now seems to have been completely accidental. Every customer facing change they've made over the past few years has made the NetFlix experience progressively worse. At this point, I've had enough of their confused thrashing, and will still be cancelling my subscription. I checked my records, I joined NetFlix in 2004, and used to have a 3 DVD plan, but inf recent years have dropped to 1 DVD, then no DVDs, and now, no NetFlix.

Re:Too little, too late (2, Interesting)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662360)

I don't think it's too little nor too late. This is two major decisions that they've turned around and admitted that they didn't appropriately measure their audience correctly-- BEFORE implementation. How many companies do you know that do that?

Their actions were affected by their audience... do we have expectations above and beyond that?

Re:Too little, too late (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662474)

Their actions were affected by their tumbling stock price and customer mass exodus.

Re:Too little, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662642)

Mod this up... this action was to appease the stock holders, and nothing to do with the "feedback" from the customer base.

Re:Too little, too late (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663392)

Personally, I'm amazed the CEO still has a job after this dumbassery has reduced the stock price by half in only a couple of months.

I will repeat my assessment of Netflix. It's a company that had a good idea once, and hasn't had a good one since.

Why Netflix did it in the first place (2)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663648)

I think that there are probably two really good reasons Netflix saw the breakup as a good idea and neither of those has changed.

1) Ending studio blackmail.
Right now studios have to sell netflix DVDs at a reasonable price since they are available over the counter. But the studios don't have to sell them streaming at a reasonable price. They can tell Netflix, give us a slice of your DVD income or we wont sell you the streams you need. If you physically split the bussinesses then the blackmail goes away since they can't clawback any of that DVD income.

2) Redbox is a better model. No postal fees. Just a driver who shuttles a stationwagon load of the disks up once a day or week. No people to tear open envelopes and sort the DVDs. Not even electricity bills. Bussinesses will even pay you to put your machines in their stores. No lost DVDs-- the consumer pays.

Customers (3, Insightful)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662762)

To be fair, they only lost 1 million out of an original 25 million. I would hardly call that a mass exodus. Unfortunately, investors panicked and their share price did plummet. Shame that we punish Netflix for a 6 dollar increase, and do nothing about the movie studios requiring significantly larger contracts that Netflix needs to find the cash for.

Re:Customers (3, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662816)

That's still a substantial customer base reduction in such a short period of time, and it doesn't even count the people who dropped one part of their service and/or downgraded their plans. Those people could be one step away from cancelling entirely.

Qwikster was such a stupid name anyway.

Re:Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37663096)

What business do you run that you feel that losing 20,000 paying customers a day isn't a relevant drop, Bank Of America?

Re:Too little, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37663130)

The worrying thing here is that the objections people had were sufficiently obvious that they should have been brought up in the first planning meeting (the added hassle of using 2 accounts for what used to require 1, is so trivial even a marketing zombie should see it). I for one had assumed that they were aware people would be annoyed by having to maintain two accounts, and that they determined for strategic reasons that the gains outweighed the potential losses. The fact that they reversed the decision so quickly indicates that they didn't fully understand the consequences of the choice. That indicates bad leadership.

I expect to see Netflix die a death of a thousand cuts.

Re:Too little, too late (1)

luckymutt (996573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663914)

How many companies do you know that do that?

I think any company would reverse it's position if they lost 60% of their stock's value within 3 days of making the announcement.
Don't think they are just doing this because of a few comments from their users on their blog post. They are doing this because their shareholders just lost a bunch.

Re:Waah waah (2)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662424)

As a Netflix DVD subscriber, I'm rather happy that they've decided to change their plans and maintain their current services. Has any of this drama impacted your service? Are you now buying DVDs or Blurays at $15-$30 each? Also, I'm glad to not be subsidizing all of those instant view customers any more.

Re:Waah waah (1)

jdpars (1480913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662894)

Subsidizing us? You think it's more expensive to stream a movie to a computer than to mail a physical disk? Really?

Re:Waah waah (2, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663132)

Most likely yes. The $30 million they are paying Dreamworks to stream Shrek would pay for a lot of postage (and DVDs).

Re:Waah waah (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663218)

Actually, it is more expensive to stream. Not because of physical transportation/shipping costs but from the licensing costs the studios require for streaming.

Re:Waah waah (4, Insightful)

g051051 (71145) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663068)

The increase in cost affected my service, as it caused me to get less service. The continued changes to the web site affected my service, because it made it more and more difficult to search for and find content I was interested in (regardless of whether it was DVDs or streaming. I'm not buying DVDs or Blu-rays, because it's just not that important to me to see movies. It was certainly nice to be able to enjoy the occaisional movie at home, without having to fight crowds at the theaters, but my life doesn't revolve around TV and movies (at least not anymore) so I can easily say goodbye to NetFlix and just not replace it with another service.

If their model works for you, then by all means, keep subscribing. It doesn't work for me though, not anymore, so I'm voting with my wallet.

Re:Too little, too late (2)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662834)

I was a few weeks away from cancelling. The Qwikster thing spurred me to explore other options and question how and in what way I spend my entertainment dollars. Let's face it, once you begin to give a good hard look at entertainment spending it is easy to come to the conclusion that you don't need much of it. My Netflix instant and dvd queue is about 90% 3-star movies, things that I'd add but put off to watch other better things. But now I've watch all those other things. Yes, Netflix did add some new content recently, but they also took away some content as I found out when I went to watch The Sting (5-stars) on Instant. Now that the summer is over, network TV is back. That's free OTA, and you can catch eps for free on Hulu.

I suppose I'll refrain from cancelling now, but I don't have much confidence in Netflix's future. They seem schizophrenic at the moment.

Re:Too little, too late (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662874)

>>At this point, I've had enough of their confused thrashing, and will still be cancelling my subscription.

So they listened to their customers, abandoning the fucktarded Netflix/Qwkster split idea (though Qwkster would have made for a great Scrabble triple word score once it became genericized), and... you're cancelling over that?

I'm actually debating cancelling my cable TV. I never watch it, and only bought it to entertain my wife for when I'm playing video games. But now she spends all night watching Dr. Who and TNG episodes on Netflix, and hasn't turned on the cable box in over a month.

Re:Too little, too late (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663098)

I'm already there. I could not justify $130 a month for 500 channels of mindless puree. And I'm still not sure how we got to paying for commercials. One thing maybe these fuckwits could take note of is that customers pay for TV to get away from the goddamn commerical interruptons. I am sticking with Netflix because I tried Hulu as an alternative, and the every-10-minutes commercial interruption (which was in no way "limited" at all) was enough of a nuisance that I decided I refuse to pay $8/mo for some fucking bullshit to be bleated in my ear while I'm trying to relax.

Re:Too little, too late (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663236)

The way I feel right now they seem to do something every few months to try to get more money from me. I don't enjoy having to watch like a hawk for term changes. Don't like it when my bank does it, don't like it when Netflix does it. Paying for the year to get Amazon is attractive to me because I get to pay for the year with the full understanding that I know exactly what I get. Although not attractive enough to switch from Netflix, at this time...

Re:Too little, too late (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663118)

I'm quite happy they changed it, I was planning on quitting Netflix when this was implemented. That said, this one action (which never even happened) immediately trashed all 7+ years of good will I had with them. In August, they were one of my favorite companies. Now I don't trust them.

Irony of all this? I didn't mind the price increase. It wasn't bad for me. I thought they $8 DVD + Streaming plan was very underpriced, so I wasn't surprised at that move.

Re:Too little, too late (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663404)

I don't care about the DVDs, infact I think they should ditch DVDs altogether and just provide better streaming content!

Re:Too little, too late (2)

knight24k (1115643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663896)

It's obvious that NetFlix doesn't understand its customers anymore (if it ever did.) What I used to take as excellent customer focused strategy now seems to have been completely accidental. Every customer facing change they've made over the past few years has made the NetFlix experience progressively worse. At this point, I've had enough of their confused thrashing, and will still be cancelling my subscription. I checked my records, I joined NetFlix in 2004, and used to have a 3 DVD plan, but inf recent years have dropped to 1 DVD, then no DVDs, and now, no NetFlix.

Same here, the last announcement caused me to cancel that day and made me take another look at Blockbuster. After the price jump I had to drop down to 2 DVDs. With BB I'm back to 3 and get Blu-ray and games for no extra charge. Granted, Netflix has the most amazing search and recommendation system around, but I can't justify staying with them for that and frankly I don't trust them anymore. If that insane CEO leaves I *may* try them again, but as long as that idiot is leading things I am staying away.

"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662284)

I've been using Netflix since they started, and much as I love them, even I was left scratching my head over that one. It was such a bonehead move that the only logic I can see behind it is if they were hoping to quietly sell "Quikster" off later without generating any negative press for Netflix (and their stock). Otherwise it just feels like an insult to their customers (an we had already faced a price hike this year already).

I just can't see how they *wouldn't* expect a negative reaction from customers when you tell them "Now you'll have to visit two different sites, with different queues, different passwords, etc." It was taking something simple and making it a much bigger pain in the ass, for no apparent reason.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662576)

No kidding. A couple of months ago I would have said Netflix was untouchable in its market. But two or three more asinine announcements like they've had lately, and I'd start to think there's plenty of room for non-crazy competition.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663496)

I think Amazon is going to step in and compete very competently in the streaming arena.

The lynchpin of this whole issue is that Netflix's streaming library completely blows. Nobody wants to switch over to that completely because they can't watch anything they really want to watch - hence the backlash about the DVD service and the price increases. People were okay with using streaming every now and again, since it was free, but when you are reduced to watching made-for-TV quality tripe instead of desirable, first run movies, who's going to pay more for it?

All it would take is a basic streaming service with a decent library. The content is what people pay for.

Institutional ineptitude (1, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663628)

I've been saying for a while now that Netflix was systemically incompetent. Their web site redesign - and the boneheaded defense of it - the price hike/split of streaming and DVD plans - and the brain dead attempt to spin it as "lower prices" - the decision to split the company - and the seemingly psychotic announcement of it in an "apology" email... all demonstrate that Netflix just doesn't have smart, qualified people running the company. It shows that they have been successful not on the merits of their business qualifications but by the luck of having the right business model at the right time. The fact that they're backing off from this split of the company doesn't argue against that; it just shows that Reed Hastings doesn't need to be institutionalized for his own protection. Probably. Mark my words: Netflix will be dead (or irrelevant) in five years.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662734)

It was such a bonehead move that the only logic I can see behind it is if they were hoping to quietly sell "Quikster" off later without generating any negative press for Netflix (and their stock).

That could have been a large part of it. The DVD portion may be operating at or near a loss and they may want to separate it to later get rid of it and focus on the more profitable side. I still think bundling streaming (for free) with the DVD rental side was just a means of getting folks used to the idea of using streaming and causing them to prefer Netflix enabled devices. Once the number of Netflix enabled devices in the hands of consumers reached critical mass, then it was only logical to separate DVD and streaming. Any other approach would have likely not been as successful.

The other factor could be them wanting to separate both sides of the business to help with streaming negotiations. Right now content providers can easily demand that Netflix only show part of their show and restrict certain episodes to "DVD only". If Netflix were streaming only, then it would put them in a better position to negotiate for full shows, since DVD only episodes would now fall outside of their business.

- Chia

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663044)

I'm fairly positive that the whole split was due to negotiations with content rights holders and little else.

It's not Netflix's fault that you can't get a ton of good streaming content from them -- they'd love to be able to provide that, but the content rights holders do not want that to be provided (for any amount of money that would anyone would pay, not Netflix, not you nor I).

The old guard doesn't much care for nor understand streaming content. It makes them uncomfortable.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663178)

Well, okay, but that's not quite true. The content owners are trying to get a premium price from Netflix, and Netflix won't pay it. In this disagreement, I'm personally with Netflix: I think movies are vastly, vastly overpriced. But alas, the market apparently disagrees, because many people do pay the premium prices. Not me, but others do. You can hardly blame the movie producers for demanding the maximum possible price.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662846)

I think I know what the reason was. Quikster makes Netflix look bad. Every time you do a search it says: Not available instantly but you can get it on DVD. This makes people MORE dissatisfied with the selection on Netflix. And it's reenforced every time you do a search. It makes streaming look like the bastard stepchild and they needed to do something about it. Their choice wasn't the brightest, BUT something will happen to avoid this.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (4, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662854)

I just can't see how they *wouldn't* expect a negative reaction from customers when you tell them "Now you'll have to visit two different sites, with different queues, different passwords, etc." It was taking something simple and making it a much bigger pain in the ass, for no apparent reason.

Of course, this creates even bigger outcry than price increases, and people stop talking about price issues and start talking about how they're going to cancel entirely when this happens. Then it doesn't, and they don't, but no one's really talking about price increases anymore. Cheap and effective counter to bad PR is worse PR that goes away!

Unfortunately "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" has a corollary, "never attribute to brilliant cunning that which is adequately explained by stupidity," so I can't quite bring myself to believe this.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662938)

I did hear one somewhat compelling theory for the split. Netflix is essentially in the DVD rental business right now, which means they are governed by the same laws that govern Blockbuster and your Mom&Pop video rental store down the street. These consumer protections date back to the 80s and include nuggets like "You can't sell or give away a customer's rental history" (which protected people who rented adult films for instance). With the Qwikster split, they would take all of the regulatory baggage with them and Netflix would be free to sell your information for a little extra dough.

I guess they figured a million users would have made more money than selling that information.

At least now Netflix has a chance. As long as the DVD rental business is their primary source of income, the streaming can be a sideshow and it won't matter that much if the studios try to dick them over with licensing fees and selection. It's trying to survive only on streaming that was insane, because it gives total control of your business over to the studio execs who hate you with a fiery passion for killing off their DVD sales cash cow (even if you didn't really do it).

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663802)

The theory I heard is that the movie companies are pushing for per-subscriber license fees. Netflix owes a small amount of money per streaming subscriber. By splitting out the DVD service, they could take a lot of people out of the column for streaming subscribers, and thus owe less fees.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663864)

I just can't see how they *wouldn't* expect a negative reaction from customers when you tell them "Now you'll have to visit two different sites, with different queues, different passwords, etc."

Well, the reaction Netflix was hoping for was for their customers to drop Qwikster and just go 100% streaming. Bonus points if they made the Qwikster website buggy and terrible in hopes of dissuading people from using it. Then Qwikster goes out of business (on purpose) and the Netflix brand is still strong.

It's obvious Netflix wants to get out of the DVD-mailing business and go streaming-only.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (5, Insightful)

glassware (195317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663902)

Netflix subscribed to a management theory called "eating your own lunch." The idea is that any business, if you wait around long enough, will get mummified as you keep trying to protect the revenue generated by your ancient business model. The theory says that, as the big company keeps struggling to keep its moribund business alive, a younger, hungrier competitor with a slightly different business model will steal your lunch. So, the theory goes, you should eat your own lunch and embark on your own variant business models. That way, when the business world shifts, you'll still be in business.

The theory points to such past projects as the CD industry, Blockbuster, and others. The idea is that such industries failed because they were too wedded to their ideas to change.

The trouble is, Netflix went overboard. They had two different business models running perfectly smoothly side by side. There was no mummification, nothing preventing them from being innovative or seizing on the new streaming business. In fact, their DVD-by-mail business was helping them wield great power in the movie industry, and helping them to get deals for streaming content.

So if they were paying attention clearly, the only reason to kill off the DVD-by-mail business is if it was scaring off the customers, starving the company of funds, or somehow preventing innovation. None of those were true. I'm glad to see they came to their senses.

Re:"Quikster" split a dumb move to begin with (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663928)

I just can't see how they *wouldn't* expect a negative reaction from customers when you tell them "Now you'll have to visit two different sites, with different queues, different passwords, etc." It was taking something simple and making it a much bigger pain in the ass, for no apparent reason.

I agree with whoever said it when it was first announced: It seems like they just didn't think it through. IIRC, there was even a quote by Netflix's president when they asked him about needing to manage separate queues, and he was like, "Oooh, right. Good point. I'll have to get back to you on that one."

My guess is that they were so wrapped up in large-scale business strategies, wanting to separate out DVD and streaming for accounting, legal, and/or marketing reasons, and somehow no one stopped to ask, "What will this mean, on a practical level, for our customers?"

Not exactly confidence-inspiring.

Sudden outbreak of common sense (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662318)

The real news here is that this shows just how poorly conceived this idea was, and a real lack of planning and vision at the top. Not good. Netflix must really be feeling the heat from the studios -- not to mention competition -- to be flailing about like this.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662442)

That was more or less my thought on the matter. I've switched to Blockbuster for my movies, same price similar selection and games thrown in there as well.

I might go back to Netflix eventually, but only if the roll out that Blockbuster has hinted at for an all you can eat streaming plan comes through. I'm not switching to Dish Network just so that I can get unlimited streaming from them through.

Beyond that there's, Crackle, Hulu, Amazon and don't forget about the official streams that some channels now have to offer. Netflix managed to screwed itself over with the sheer incompetence of recent announcements. I'm probably going to get a box to connect my laptop up to my TV until I can afford a new one with HDMI inputs.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662858)

When you say Blockbuster, do you mean their actual stores? They are all gone around me unfortunately.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (1)

SteveInMI (985850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37664004)

On the other hand, how refreshing is it to hear a CEO put his ego aside and say to his customer base, "you're right, that was a dumb idea; we'll undo it." How often have you seen them take the other approach - trying to prove that they were right all along by sticking MORE stubbornly to their plan? It's utopian to wish for CEO's never to do dumb things. But it would be a better world for consumers if CEO's - when they DO make dumb moves - would more often be willing to reverse course.

Netflix - the company that can stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662368)

Funny how netflix seems to have terrific skill at making bad decisions and turning off their customers these days.

The rate hike remains, of course (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662380)

Don't overlook that...

Re:The rate hike remains, of course (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662658)

The rate hike is not a big deal. I was doing the 2 DVD plan and I switched to the one DVD at a time + instant, which kept my rate the same. Having to manage two separate queues would have been way more of a problem than the price increase. Clearly Netflix had some sort of "group think" going on if they didn't realize that raising rates and simultaneously making the service worse wouldn't be a problem. But given this change, I think Netflix still provides good service... very fast turnaround on DVDs, excellent streaming. I have no problem paying $15 / month for that.

Re:The rate hike remains, of course (2)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662746)

The rating hike is negligible though. The cost to have streaming + 3 Dvd's out at a time is still less than what Comcast and other service providers are charging for basic cable. With Hulu being free to watch new episode content, I'm still happily along for the ride that Netflix is offering.
It was the idea of having to login to 2 different websites to find what I want to watch that really chaffed.

Credit where due (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662382)

While I agree this is baffling and shows they are having issues understanding their customer base.. I will give them credit for both being willing to try something they think will improve service AND being willing to cancel the plan when their customers point out how bone headed it was. A lot of executives are not willing to do either of those, esp the latter. In the high stakes realm of the boardroom, careers can be made or broken based off doggedly not admitting you are wrong.

Re:Credit where due (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662542)

Agree, completely. They could have tried bouncing the idea around internally to a few dozen users first, that should have been enough to kill it, but at least they had the good sense to listen to public reaction.

Re:Credit where due (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662620)

It is possible that they did just that and simply ended up with a view that did not represent the whole (or at least the noisy) well. That is one of those pittfalls with trying to figure out what your customers want.. sometimes even with real data and the best of intentions, once the broader group is involved things can come out differently then the test market. Just look at New Coke.... they had a solid idea, they tested the product and found people liked it, marketing information pointed towards such a change being 'the future' and 'what people wanted'.. every indicator they had to work with said it would be a good idea.. but once it hit the market.. splat.

Re:Credit where due (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662630)

Yeah but why didn't they send out a survey and poll their customers to determine how real people would feel about the change before going through all the effort of formalizign a plan, etc.

Re:Credit where due (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663242)

What surprises me about this is it seems like they're not doing a good job of marketing.

When they decide to change the flip-top on a bottle of low-budget shampoo, most places do polls, focus groups, read consulting reports and so on before they ever make the change.

You would think that Netflix would be doing the same thing if they were considering such a change.

My instinct tells me that something's wrong there. Take your pick -- Reed Hastings thinks of himself as a prophet and rejects advice from marketing, only hires yes-men for marketing.

Or it goes beyond Reed and the company as a whole doesn't seek outside information and they have become an echo-chamber and they only hear their own ideas. The echo around enough until it sounds like a good idea.

Re:Credit where due (0)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663686)

No. All Reed Hastings has shown here is that he isn't paste-eating retarded. You don't get "credit" as a business executive for that.

YO YO (1)

kodiaktau (2351664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662436)

What a terrible group of leaders Netflix has. I was a customer for a total of 48 hours because they changed the price on me overnight and sent me a nice email about the change. Screw Netflix. As long as it can maintain machines and relevant titles, Redbox will end up eating their lunch anyhow.

Alternative to Redbox for older films? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662608)

As long as it can maintain machines and relevant titles, Redbox will end up eating their lunch anyhow.

Perhaps you define "relevant titles" differently than I, but in my experience, Redbox keeps a movie in stock for about a year before it's no longer in any machine nearby. What do you do if you want to watch a movie that isn't a new release anymore, or do you just abstain from older movies?

Re:Alternative to Redbox for older films? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662828)

I can't believe people use redbox. Do you not understand what year it is?

Re:Alternative to Redbox for older films? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662968)

The year is 2011. And despite the year being 2011, fast Internet connections[1] have still not reached 100 percent of homes in the United States.

[1] Streaming even SDTV pretty much needs cable or DSL, not dial-up or satellite.

And the price...? (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662462)

Hey Netflix, while you're eating crow, how about rewinding another couple months and rescinding the price hike as well?

Re:And the price...? (2)

Cruorin (1453909) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662650)

The price hike is making them an enormous amount of money. They lost 4% of their customers, but are charging almost double. I would assume that enough customers kept their old plans to make up that loss many times.

Content (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662722)

It's the content. Netflix realized they need cash to throw at the studios who are now demanding significantly more. Even tossing a %1,000 percent increase at Starz was not enough to keep their contract. Look at how much they inked a deal with Dreamworks. Why didn't the customer base get upset at the studios for not allowing their titles can stream to a larger audience? Slashdot tends to get upset quickly at the music studios, but do we collectively give the movie studios a free pass? Netflix was the best company at providing a legal alternative to unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.

Re:And the price...? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662926)

Did you LIKE the content prior to the price increase? Which was mediocre and shrinking (starz leaving). Which would you rather have? No neflix or a netflix at the current prices?

At this point... (1)

mrquagmire (2326560) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662510)

At this point I would have more faith in a group of children running Netflix than I do in their current management team.

Integration with Facebook? (4, Interesting)

knitting fool (542573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662532)

A guest on an NPR show the other day speculated that a partnership with Facebook was part of the motivation for the split. The gentleman described Facebook's new "tell everyone exactly what you are doing right now including naming the movies you are currently watching" plan, and then speculated that current privacy laws wouldn't allow Netflix to share information about DVD rentals. The privacy laws for streaming, he thought, might be a bit hazier, and by separating the two Netflix might be free to share that information with Facebook.

Sorry I can't find a link to the article at the moment. It was the first not-insanely-unreasonable argument I had heard for the division. (although perhaps still a bit unreasonable.)

Big mistake (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662548)

Their DVD and Instant businesses conflict with each other, as witnessed by the decline in availability of new DVDs and the web site rearrangements that make some sense for instant but make it much harder to find DVDs. Splitting them gave the two businesses a chance to thrive separately.

Re:Big mistake (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37663772)

The two businesses don't conflict. That is like saying selling chicken nuggets conflicts with selling hamburgers. Would McDonalds survive if it split the chicken nuggets and the chicken sandwich off into its own business? Not likely. Having diversity in your offerings provides a safety net. One can decline and the other can grow. While one product disappears you can make money on the other and research a third product. Look at Amazon. They used to only sell paper books online. They expanded into music and other stuff. Now they are offering digital books as the paper ones decline. They didn't split off each businesses as they went along.

Re:Big mistake (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663838)

Agreed. There is still a huge chunk of the US population that lives in areas with slow or no broadband.

The DVD service is all we can and do use.

Also, (4, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662574)

"We realised that Qwikster sounds like the sort of company that made spyware in the late 90s".

agility vs transparency (0)

nobaloney (1012719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662632)

What Netflix has shown us is that they're (a) transparent, and (b) agile.

We've said for years that new companies beat old companies hands-down because of their agility. We've said we value transparency.

So now we get both, with all the messiness that implies, from one company, making one misstep after another, and then backtracking as it needs to.

And we complain.

Note I'm not saying that I like Netflix's new pricing; I don't. And I'm not saying I've liked the drama of the past few weeks; I haven't. But by taking this step they've removed most of the reasons I would have to quit, and I'm staying.

Disclaimer: Within the last month I took delivery of an internet-connected home-theater system with 65" screen and 5.1 Dolby sound. I didn't buy the 3D glasses because currently available 3D content sucks, and I'm not paying more for the Netflix BlueRay subscription because there just aren't enough BlueRay discs available. But I am going to keep both my three-at-a-time DVD plan and my streaming plan, because between them (and with their usually good-enough recommendation engine) I'm getting movies I might never see otherwise.

Re:agility vs transparency (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663270)

Your comment only makes sense if you insist that "us" and "we" are coherent descriptions of the people that post here.

"Some of us" and "some of you" make more sense to me.

Re:agility vs transparency (1)

nobaloney (1012719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663568)

I should have been more specific; my meaning is intended to be the collective we and the collective us.

Re:agility vs transparency (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663916)

My point is that the "collective us" isn't a coherent group, you shouldn't expect coherent behavior.

Re:agility vs transparency (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663484)

Very insightful. Also, people like me don't necessarily want to watch a particular show right now, when I do watch TV I usually just want to watch something interesting in a particular genre. Netflix's streaming selection is perfectly fine for the latter.

Tone deaf again (2)

LMacG (118321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662694)

"It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult"

So he thinks there are people (who want both DVDs and streaming) for whom that wouldn't be the case?

This guy seriously needs somebody to keep him from attempting to communicate with the public.

Clearly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662708)

The execs there are rolling in 'bitches n blow'.

Now...show intelligent corporate governance, and (2)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662790)

....fire the guy whose catastrophically stupid idea that was.

And probably his boss, for approving it.

Seriously, it was an abortion from the first moment. Conceiving it, communicating it, championing it, apologizing for it, then backing away from it - all a disaster.

OK, credit them one TEENSY bit for finally acknowledging that annoying their ENTIRE customer base, making using their service MORE difficult to use, and then resisting to almost the last man until finally capitulating was stupid. Um, congrats?

Actually he was good; as far as CEOs go (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662970)

He admitted the mistake and turned it around after investing a great deal in his blunder. Most CEOs today do not give in so easily to reason, they will continue down the foolish path they set CONFIDENT they will be vindicated later (and still feel good after they leave with a huge bonus and their plans "not performing to expectations" and blame external forces like "bad economy" or something about the timing implying it was a great idea ahead or behind the current market climate.)

Re:Actually he was good; as far as CEOs go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37663888)

Anyone getting ceo money isnt allowed to make mistakes.

Pass the bong (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662800)

Whatever they're smoking in the Netflix executive offices, they need to consider rehab before they run the company into the ground. Anyone with a firm grasp of the obvious knew that Qwikster idea was a loser and then their tone-deaf PR rep comes out and calls their prices increases a "couple of lattes" at a time when unemployment is running at over 9 percent. How does that idiot still have a job?

If the impression they're trying to convey is incompetent management, mission accomplished. The only stupid thing they haven't done is hire Dick Cheney as an image consultant.

Re:Pass the bong (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663566)

Anyone with a firm grasp of the obvious knew that Qwikster idea was a loser and then their tone-deaf PR rep comes out and calls their prices increases a "couple of lattes" at a time when unemployment is running at over 9 percent. How does that idiot still have a job?

Maybe that was aimed at the 91% of workers who therefore do have a job. The economy could be better, sure, but this isn't exactly the Great Depression.

Re:Pass the bong (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663746)

In point of fact, the employment situation is, in some ways, worse than the Great Depression. While there may not be 25% full time unemployment, if you count the under-employed, the rate is very close.

Re:Pass the bong (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663996)

If you count the underemployed then you're comparing apples and oranges. The problem with the Great Depression wasn't that you might have to go work at Best Buy or at a call center or whatever, it was that there wasn't a job available at any level for five hundred miles in any direction.

Some time places change names make employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37662812)

and franchises pay for new uniforms / signs and other stuff. As for uniforms I have seen as high as $25 shirt + $15 shipping must buy 3 shirts min per order + must buy business cards as well. And that is for a 100% commission job.

Right Move Too Late (1)

sarbonn (1796548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662838)

I'm usually not a very reactive kind of customer. I tend to let things go and not really give them much thought. However, I remember some time ago, I got upset that Netflix was raising its prices. So, I switched to only one dvd at a time from three. Quickly, Netflix reversed its decision, and I went back to three dvds. Then they decided to raise prices again and immediately split the company into two. I found myself somewhat insulted by all of the ceo's comments in response, almost as if he was an adult talking to little children. So, I closed out my account and left. Now, they're trying to fix this faux pas again, and unfortunately, many people like me aren't going to come back. It wasn't really the price increase or even the splitting of the company. It was being talked down to like a child by a company I have given business for many years now. I decided they can do well without me. From what I now see, they're realizing they can't. But when you lose a customer, you lose a customer. Sorry, but that's how business works sometimes.

Re:Right Move Too Late (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662932)

I might eventually come back, but with the competition heating up, I'm not really sure that it's in my interest to do so until I see what the competition makes of this. Blockbuster has met and beaten Netflix's offer for the DVD portion, and I'm sure that somebody is going to come up with a competitive option for the streaming. But, even if they don't, I can hook my laptop up to a TV and get all sorts of free programming without having to resort to piracy.

It's tough to compete with free, and I think Netflix would do well to remember that.

Amazon, not Customers (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37662916)

They may or may not be responding to their customer base, but I think they're more afraid of Amazon, who have been increasing their available online content, streaming as well as purchases. The Kindle Fire announcement marked Amazon as a big player in the online media world, and I'll bet suddenly Netflix realized they were the third wheel next to Amazon and Apple.

Just got the official email about this (2)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663034)

From the email:

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

Why would he say this?? It's off-topic to begin with (the email was about Qwikster), and he's setting himself up to be a hypocrite. What happens when it really is time for the inevitable price change? Has he never heard of inflation? Does he expect the industry to remain changeless? He must have one heck of a crystal ball.

Someone else needs to write Netflix's emails.

Re:Just got the official email about this (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663400)

They had three price increases in two years. They'd better be done for a long time.

The third price increase was too much for me; they finally priced me out.

Re:Just got the official email about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37663926)

So the price went from 8$ a month to 16$/month... and that priced you out?

If you are living so close to the edge that 8/month breaks the bank, then possibly you shouldn't be paying for netflix in the first place.

Good (1)

Botia (855350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663494)

It's good to see them making some good decisions. I was getting very worried at the path they were headed down.

Not about customers from the beginning (1)

w1nt3rmute (2165804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663898)

This whole thing is some investment bank's brainchild that Netflix swallowed hook, line, and s[t]inker. In early 2011, it was "Hey guys, we can split up your sleepy, high-margin, but declining revenue base DVD business from your sexy, higher cost, but explosively growing streaming business so you can monitize them both more efficiently in the capital markets (and make a ton of money on the options you get converted into on the new business)." In late 2011 it's now "Sorry guys, the major indices are off 15%+ and the multiples have shrunk considerably. We should scrap this idea. The bright side is that your customers didn't really want it, anyway." Spin, baby, spin.

New Service (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37663978)

The will call the new captive service "hipster" and it will wear skinny jeans, appeal to the clueless masses.

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