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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