I woke up to a surprising email in my inbox and segment on my favorite morning show, Good Morning America: Netflix is splitting in two, creating a new company, “Qwikster.”
Sunday’s late-night blog post announced that now subscribers are going to have to manage two accounts, two websites, two separate queues etc. and has set off a firestorm of controversy.
Comments on Hasting’s blog post haven’t been very complimentary of the move:
“Well, after 7 long years enjoying Netflix, this appears to be the end. Like so many other people leaving comments here, I too was a little put off by the recent price increase. However, I was willing to stick it out with you, downgrading from 2 Blu-Rays at a time to 1 and keeping my streaming option. But let’s face it: I don’t watch that many movies. I’ve had the same 2 movies for over a month and although my streaming queue is full of movies, I hardly ever find the time to watch them.
While adding video games is a great idea, this splitting into two companies is the worst possible idea you guys could have had. Two websites and two monthly bills, all for what? Certainly not “ease of use” for your customers. I banned Blockbuster years ago and it looks like I’ll be banning you too. I pay enough money for my cable bill, I’ll just hit up RedBox for new releases and catch whatever’s on HBO.”
Tweeters are also expressing their frustration on Qwikster-gate:
- @seetharama: what is happening to #netflix? suddenly all hell seems to be breaking loose! #Qwikster? Must be kidding me.
- @krichie: Goodbye Netflix DVD/Soon to be Qwikster. It was fun.
- @DigitalMoses: #Netflix changes name to Qwikster – #ChrisRock said it best. “Whatever happened to just plain crazy?” Thanks for introducing me to Redbox!
But some are expressing hope that the changes will be positive for the company, like this blogger:
“‘DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible,’ Hastings wrote. And it’s true: Getting physical media mailed to your home may disappear sooner rather than later. Until then, Netflix and Qwikster intend to meet demands and expand on new ones. Just look at Qwikster’s addition of rentable video games for the PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360.
As long as I’re being optimistic, let’s think about a future when video games will be streamed to consoles as rentals. Why not? And if Qwikster builds relationships with game developers now–and appeases its customers’ desire for physical media delivery–when the day comes where streaming is the be-all and end-all, Netflix will have the clout to offer streaming video game rentals.”
The jury is out on whether or not subscribers will embrace the changes to the company. Only time will tell if this strategy will be a success – though undoubtedly, many movie rental businesses are watching eagerly.
What about you? What do you think about the Netflix/Qwikster situation?