Netflix has been in the news a lot lately – and not for making its customers happy – but maybe today’s update from the video rental giant will reverse that trend.
Remember Qwikster, the company’s new name for it’s now separate DVDs by mail service? Well, forget it. CEO Reed Hastings tells subscribers this morning that the company has heard your complaints about hating the name, having to manage two queues, and not wanting to remember another password. As of today, Qwikster is dead.
Hastings takes the blame for the customer unhappiness, stating “There is a difference between moving quickly -- which Netflix has done very well for years -- and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case."
Rentals and streaming will remain under a single account, and at the Netflix website – so basically, everything stays exactly as it was. This is assuredly for the best – and it’s nice to see the company can recognize when they’re making a boneheaded move and reverse course before going through with it.
Those hoping that the company might also change their mind about the recent – and highly unpopular – price increases can stop holding their breath. In Hastings’ letter to subscribers on the company’s blog, he says ,“While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.” One would hope so, since some plans have already gone up by roughly 60%, causing Netflix stock values to drop dramatically and longtime subscribers to abandon the service.
Netflix once looked like an unstoppable force, offering tens of thousands of movies on disc and available for instant watching through their streaming service. However, as those streaming rights contracts with studios have come up for renewal, Hollywood has insisted on a much larger slice of the pie – forcing the company to raise its prices on physical rentals to keep the streaming business (which is believed to be the future of movie viewing) robust. With competition from a newly revamped Blockbuster right around the corner, this is a critical time for Netflix. Dropping Qwikster and the two service idea won’t fix most of their problems, but from a PR standpoint, it’s at least the first bit of good news we’ve heard from the company in months.