So Long, Qwikster, We Barely Knew You

So Long, Qwikster, We Barely Knew You

After a summer full of pratfalls and missteps, Netflix is on a roll lately, making good decision after good decision. First, they continued expansion into international markets like Latin America. For U.S. users, they've added tons of great new content deals for content like AMC's top shows (Breaking Bad & The Walking Dead) and Dreamworks Animation. And now their best move of 2011 to date: scrapping the plans to spin off the DVD service into its own entity called Qwikster.

Netflix Kills Qwikster

That's right, folks, Netflix has decided to keep it all in the family after all.

This is pretty abrupt, actually, considering the Qwikster announcement was only made a month ago. Which suggests it's nothing but a direct response to negative feedback from users and a falling stock price.

Reid Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, had this to say on the company's blog:

"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."

The Impact Of The Qwikster Reversal?

Don't underestimate the potential good this about-face could bring. In fact, when Netflix first announced Qwikster, it came bundled with a bit of a corporate apology for the mishandling of the price-hike announcement. And many users found the apology to be hollow... phony... not good enough. Then, on top of it, most were upset about having to log into two websites in the future to manage their queues.

Well today's move is a much better apology. Undoing the much-decried Qwikster move is a better apology than the words "I'm sorry" could ever be, and will very likely save the company a lot of customers who were considering leaving.

Of course, some will only see this move as yet another mistake by the company, as it does make them look a bit wishy-washy. But the bottom line is this: considering the price and the content selection, Netflix is still a great value compared to the competition.

I also don't think this means Netflix is done trying to move past DVD. Streaming is obviously where the future of the industry is headed, but maybe this is a sign Netflix realizes they moved too soon in trying to shed that part of the business. And maybe... just maybe... it'll begin to turn around their reputation in the eyes of some of their more wary customers.

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/christophor-rick/ Christophor Rick

    and still, their stock rating went down.

  • Erin Niemela via Facebook

    yeesh so wishy washy

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/jeremyscott/ Jeremy Scott

    Yeah. Still... it was probably the right move.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100361750022323 Video Leads Online

    So this seems to be an example of a company "listening" and responding to "social signals". This type of change is not unheard of (remember "new Coke"?) but the speed of the change is pretty amazing. The speed of this adaptation seems accelerated as so much of our world is now-a-days.

  • http://www.chrislanephoto.com Chris Lane

    This was a much needed correction. Hopefully they will start seeing the wisdom of listening to customers wants.

  • Justin

    It was surely the right move, but I feel as though they put themselves in a lose-lose situation here. While it shows they actually listened and responded with action, it also shows a lack of thought and confidence in the Quikster idea. From a stock perspective they look unpredictable and unreliable. Nice article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000414318905 Eric Steckel

    I think they clearly moved too fast to try to shed DVD. Yeah, the vision over a decade ago was to get to streaming, but while the technology and bandwidth is FINALLY there, not all consumers are ready to adopt. That's just the way it is, and making a draconian decision to make two companies out of it was both a bad decision and poor timing.

    The good news, as you have mentioned and as we have blogged about ourselves ( http://bars-tone.com/2011/10/netflix-we%e2%80%99re-listening/ ) is that they listened to the outcry and have gone back on that decision. We feel that social media had much to do with that. How about you?

  • Robert_Rowshan

    You are absolutely right, streaming is the future. Look at how netflix didn't implement the $1 million suggestion algorithm. The reason they cited was because audience behavior had changed as a result of switching from DVDs to streaming video!
     
    http://www.formspring.me/RobertRowshan

  • http://kwest.com/RobertRowshan Robert_Rowshan

    You are absolutely right, streaming is the future. Look at how netflix didn't implement the $1 million suggestion algorithm. The reason they cited was because audience behavior had changed as a result of switching from DVDs to streaming video!
     
    http://www.formspring.me/RobertRowshan