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19 September 2011

Why does every company I like have to devolve into some evil parody of itself? Now if you want Netflix DVD/BluRay rental along with streaming, you have to have two separate accounts and maintain two different queues.
WTF Netflix? Qwikster?? That is bullshit.
posted by fancyoats 19 September | 06:41
If you read the CEO's blog entry, I think he laid out the reasons fairly well. If the focuses of each side of the business are really that different, I think that it makes sense to keep the two sides separate as long as the total price equals the same to the service you've already signed up for.

The downsides my boyfriend sawówe literally just finished talking about thisówas that a) the new name is utter shite, and b) they're potentially taking a hit on the credit card processing fees to the tune of 23 cents per subscriber, should too many people opt out again. My response to this is that based on the amount of people who already canceled or reduced their subscription based on the last round of changes, they've already factored that into this decision and to them, it's worth the change.

However, the new name is utter shite.
posted by TrishaLynn 19 September | 07:13
Looks like someone over at Something Awful shares your opinion.
posted by hangashore 19 September | 07:18
I'm going to dump the dvd rental part of the service. It was bad enough when the price went up, but this is just not worth it.
posted by wens 19 September | 07:19
I dumped them entirely when they doubled my price. I was just watching the same junk over and over again on the streaming, and I can get dvds through the library.

I was surprised to not get any kind of love note after I cancelled offering me a deal, the way cable tv and satellite radio does.
posted by JanetLand 19 September | 07:40
I like the AV Club's headline for the story: Netflix finds a new way to offer less service for more money
posted by BoringPostcards 19 September | 07:43
And Qwikster? Couldn't they have chosen a name without such dubious connotations?
posted by hangashore 19 September | 08:06
Ugh. I hate the pushing of the streaming when the options for streaming are such crap. I don't want to keep receiving dvds, but nothing I want to watch can be streamed.
posted by gaspode 19 September | 08:08
We've been amusing ourselves here in the office coming up with "better" names than Qwikster:


posted by JanetLand 19 September | 08:19
Separating the streaming and DVD options entirely probably helps them disguise what a limited selection the streaming service options.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 19 September | 08:35
What gaspode said: Ugh. I hate the pushing of the streaming when the options for streaming are such crap. I don't want to keep receiving dvds, but nothing I want to watch can be streamed.

A MILLION times over.
posted by crush-onastick 19 September | 08:43
The way Netflix is destroying the incredible good will they used to have is noting less than criminal. Can someone offer me a better service that gives both mail rental and streaming, though?
posted by Splunge 19 September | 09:27
Yes, this is an interesting case study of a company that had incredibly loyalty based on a genius idea that considered its constituency and performed a service that really worked totally tanking due to poorly thought out decisions. I heard this morning their stock has dropped 20%.

I watch almost exclusively weirdo Golden Age movies and foreign stuff that is not available streaming. I'm not at all interested in streaming, partly because my home network can't handle it well. I bet a lot of people are in that boat with me. And the name is idiotic. But Splunge is right - is anyone else going to do this? Probably not.
posted by Miko 19 September | 09:50
I only ever use streaming, so I don't really care about this. Sorry, nerds. Can't join your angst on this one.
posted by Eideteker 19 September | 10:23
Now I have an ironclad excuse for media piracy. Qwikster forced my hand!

What I see happening is similar to when we transitioned from LP records to CDs: listeners lost a huge amount of good music, since the CD business model didn't include releasing every record ever pressed, in digital form. As we move to MP3's (generally even lower quality than CDs), we further lose records that were released on CD (though those are easy to rip for oneself). Obsolete technology gets more and more expensive as it becomes a niche technology, and record companies manipulate the market via selective back-catalog releases, so the average curious listener is forced into piracy.

Now a similar thing is happening with film. They phase out DVDs in favor of a limited selection of streaming video. Eventually the only way to watch the valuable old stuff that they don't stream will be on obsolete or boutique equipment (how many of us watch VHS anymore?) or via piracy. You know which one I choose.
posted by Hugh Janus 19 September | 10:32
Also, neither the email nor the blog post answer the only question I care about:

am I going to have to recreate my DVD queue for my "new" account? Because the website is a pain in the ass to use.
posted by crush-onastick 19 September | 10:34
how many of us watch VHS anymore?

There are 3 working VHS players in my house. Not that that has anything to do with Netflix; I just think it's weird so I like bragging about it.
posted by JanetLand 19 September | 10:46
Why does the streaming selection keep shrinking? The first LOTR movie was, a few weeks ago, the only one of the trilogy that you could watch instantly. Now, it's DVD-only as well.
posted by cp311 19 September | 10:58
Ugh. I hate the pushing of the streaming when the options for streaming are such crap.

And streaming typically cuts out features I want like commentary tracks, bonus features, and closed captioning.

I'm lucky enough to have access to (and to be married to an employee of) an amazing local video store. I've noticed from their Facebook page, from conversation in the store, and just from scuttlebutt in this small city that customers who left for Netflix years ago are returning --- and LOUDLY --- to the local store. It's a long shot but just possible that this will be a renaissance for boutique-style video stores, where they still exist.

There are 3 working VHS players in my house.

We have one, and every so often for The Fella's newsletter, I'll review one of the few movies that they have only on VHS. That's always something old, a little culty, and in low demand. Next week it's going to be "How to Get Ahead in Business Without Really Trying."
posted by Elsa 19 September | 11:09
I thought the email was hilarious. "Okay, you were upset that we at Netflix raised your rates. But guess what? It wasn't Netflix who did that to you! It was Qwikster!! They're them and we're us, see?"
posted by mudpuppie 19 September | 11:26
I've been to that amazing store, Elsa. You're lucky indeed.
posted by JanetLand 19 September | 11:26
I'm with Hugh. Arrrrr.

I know, pup - that's also funny. "We're so sorry we pissed you off. To make it up to you, we're charging more!"
posted by Miko 19 September | 11:33
Another good line, this time from NPR's Monkey See blog:

That's not psychologically better for consumers. That's buying two things which are both less helpful than the single thing you could get before.

It's like a shoe company deciding to sell right shoes and left shoes for 12 dollars each where pairs of shoes used to be 20 dollars and thinking that consumers will notice the lower 12-dollar price but not the fact that it buys only one shoe.
posted by BoringPostcards 19 September | 11:48
I am a Netflix streaming fan, but dislike the unreliability of streaming options (e.g. subtitles works about 70% of time only) and really dislike the way Netflix has been cutting back on what's available for streaming. Also dislike the new look -- which is far less functional -- of the streaming site.

I think Netflix needs to start thinking hard a la Apple about what customers want and like, and how to achieve it, or their bottom line will really take a hit.

Have nothing nice to say about the email today or this weird division of the company.
posted by bearwife 19 September | 12:23
NRP had a story about this this morning, which played just after my clock radio came on, and I thought at first I was still asleep and having a strange and wacky dream.

Although I certainly share people's annoyance with the limitations on Netflix's streaming options, and the way that some stuff abruptly gets yanked, my understanding is that this is due to limitations placed by the studios/networks, rather than Netflix itself. I can only imagine that since Netflix seems to be staking its future on streaming, they'd want to have as big a catalog as possible.

It'll be interesting to see how the whole streaming-media landscape shakes out. I'm hoping it goes in the direction of "much more stuff available at stable or lower prices," because I really don't *want* to own physical media, but the greed of those who control the content should never be underestimated.

posted by kat allison 19 September | 12:50
Separating the streaming and DVD options entirely probably helps them disguise what a limited selection the streaming service options.

No. It's the exact opposite. Before the split if you searched for a movie on streaming and it wasn't unavailable, you moved on to the DVD version. Now when you search and it's not available, you're done. There's no other option.

I'm hopeful this means they realize streaming is the future and will be working on increasing the library size. Because right now it's embarrassing.
posted by justgary 19 September | 13:05
I've watched 3 VHS movies in the past week. That's a bit unusual though. I used netflix a few years ago, but dropped out for some reason. The internet is not fast enough out here deep in the periphery for me to do streaming (unless its no better than youtube quality). The whole thing is just "LOL Corporations. You thought they were your friends?" to me.
posted by DarkForest 19 September | 13:10
This won't end well. While they were one company, you'd subscribe to both services. Now people will choose. I predict that Quikster (yuk, what a name) will die a very quick death ...
posted by Susurration 19 September | 14:14
I agree, DarkForest; a big take away for me is that "brand loyalty" and "liking companies," though understandable given the psychologically precise consumer-subsidized marketing assault we all weather, is in the long run always a sucker's game.
posted by Hugh Janus 19 September | 14:22
I never thought Netflix was my friend, I'm just surprised that they'd shoot themselves in the foot like this.
posted by gaspode 19 September | 14:46
Netflix is a small fish competing against the combined wealth of Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, and to some extent Yahoo, all of whom are ready to throw as much cash at licensing content as Netflix is worth. Think in terms of the last remaining independent bookstore when a new Barnes&Noble moved into town.

Side note: from what I read, Netflix did not have open licensing for most of their streaming content. Instead, most titles had hard limits on maximum views.

Finally: a lot of this business makes a lot more sense when you start looking at things as delivering data files rather than books, songs and movies. All that really changes is the appliance.
posted by Ardiril 19 September | 16:22
If you think about it, the only "thing" that Netflix "makes" is a red envelope. Are people mistaking a vehicle for brand recognition as an indication of market penetration?
posted by Ardiril 19 September | 17:22
my understanding is that this is due to limitations placed by the studios/networks, rather than Netflix itself.

Yes to this. I've heard and read several times in the last few weeks about the studio's unwillingness to accommodate Netflix and RedBox because the studios refuse to accept streaming/alternative markets to theater viewing, as the future of their business.
posted by MonkeyButter 19 September | 18:46
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