Netflix’s September decision to split its service into two websites, Netflix for online streaming and Qwikster for by-mail discs, did not go over well with customers or investors. The announcement came far too soon after July’s widely criticized price increase. Netflix stock plummeted, more than a million subscribers cancelled their accounts, thousands more wrote angry missives, and understandably, shareholders were upset with CEO Reed Hastings, the man behind the change.
Today Hastings announced that the company reversed its decision, and decided not to go with two separate websites for streaming video and physical discs. That means the Qwikster idea is dead, and Netflix will maintain status quo, offering both services.
While it’s a step in the right direction, the announcement left something to be desired. Reed Hastings was decidedly unapologetic after the snafu.
“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. This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.”
It may have been customer outrage that put a halt to Qwikster, but it is Hastings that is responsible for making a rash decision without considering the consequences of unnecessarily splitting a service that we’ve all been using for years. In his last blog post announcing Qwikster, Hastings was apologetic, warm, and humble over the poorly received price increases. Today’s blog post is succinct and cold. Hastings is obviously not happy with putting the kibosh on his beloved Qwikster.
Killing Qwikster was clearly the right move, since Netflix stock received a boost after the announcement. Netflix will not be reversing its pricing changes, which will remain in effect permanently. Previously customers could stream movies and get one DVD by mail for $9.99 a month, but Netflix split the two services, charging $7.99 for each one. It now costs $15.98 for the same plan.
Does this reversal of the Qwikster idea improve your opinion of Netflix? If you recently cancelled, will you rejoin? Or were the price increases just too significant? Let us know in the comments.