Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ryan Gosling To Star In 'Blade Runner 2' Ryan Gosling To Star In 'Blade Runner 2' Watch: New Trailer For 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Flies Into The Galaxy Watch: New Trailer For 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Flies Into The Galaxy Watch: First Teaser Trailer For Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' 'Macbeth,' Todd Haynes' 'Carol,' Pixar's 'Inside Out' Lead 2015 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up 'Macbeth,' Todd Haynes' 'Carol,' Pixar's 'Inside Out' Lead 2015 Cannes Film Festival Line-Up Watch: Zack Snyder Teases The Full Trailer For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' & Upcoming IMAX Event Watch: Zack Snyder Teases The Full Trailer For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' & Upcoming IMAX Event Ryan Gosling & Edgar Wright Talk 'Lost River,' Shooting In Detroit, And Advice For First Time Filmmakers Ryan Gosling & Edgar Wright Talk 'Lost River,' Shooting In Detroit, And Advice For First Time Filmmakers Netflix & Marvel's 'Daredevil': The Pros, The Cons, The Verdict Netflix & Marvel's 'Daredevil': The Pros, The Cons, The Verdict Netflix's 'Daredevil' Is An Awesome Achievement And Marvel's Most Graphic & Grounded Effort To Date Netflix's 'Daredevil' Is An Awesome Achievement And Marvel's Most Graphic & Grounded Effort To Date Watch: Action-Packed Footage In 2 New “Avengers: Age of Ultron’ TV Spots, Plus Watch Interviews With The Entire Cast Watch: Action-Packed Footage In 2 New “Avengers: Age of Ultron’ TV Spots, Plus Watch Interviews With The Entire Cast Watch: Trailer For 'The Great Beauty' Director Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' Starring Michael Caine & Rachel Weisz Watch: Trailer For 'The Great Beauty' Director Paolo Sorrentino's 'Youth' Starring Michael Caine & Rachel Weisz Joss Whedon Says He's Not Making 'Avengers: Infinity War' Because It's "A Young Man’s Game" Joss Whedon Says He's Not Making 'Avengers: Infinity War' Because It's "A Young Man’s Game" Watch: Take 7 Minutes And Learn The History Of Film Editing Watch: Take 7 Minutes And Learn The History Of Film Editing 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Called "Amazing" And "More Emotional" With "Insane Action" After First Screening 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Called "Amazing" And "More Emotional" With "Insane Action" After First Screening Joss Whedon Calls 'Jurassic World' Clip "70s Era Sexist" Joss Whedon Calls 'Jurassic World' Clip "70s Era Sexist" The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Hey Netflix, If It Takes You 13 Paragraphs To Explain Your Service Changes, You're Doing It Wrong

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 19, 2011 at 7:04AM

Company Splits In Two; Creates Qwikster For DVDs, Keeps Netflix For Streaming, Makes Users Sorely Confused Good Lord, Reed Hastings. What were you drinking last night?
8

Company Splits In Two; Creates Qwikster For DVDs, Keeps Netflix For Streaming, Makes Users Sorely Confused



Good Lord, Reed Hastings. What were you drinking last night?

The Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix bombed subscribers' inboxes this morning with the most baffling email users have received from the company ever, putting a cap on what has been a tumultuous 2011 for the video service. Earlier this year, Netflix, who reported having 23.6 million subscribers in April of this year, jacked up prices in a hugely controversial move that scared Wall Street when it was revealed late last week that the service was expecting to lose 1 million subscribers as a result. This caused a nearly 20% drop in stock prices for the company. Panic! The solution? Splitting the company in two with one half now dedicated to streaming only, the other to DVD-by-mail. Yeah, we know. You might want to break out the aspirin.

So this is how it will break down: Netflix will now just be for streaming content only, with the newly unveiled Qwikster (awful name) for your DVD needs. That's right, before where you could get all your movie needs under one roof, now you'll have to deal with it from two separate places. Great work, everyone. Here's what Hastings had to say in his email:

Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will follow. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.

When exactly this transition will happen isn't clear, but seriously, making users manage two services instead of one is a massive #customerservicefail. Will you be able to move your Netflix queue over to Qwikster? What if one month you're going to away to the cottage and just want DVDs, will you be able to switch over for that month? So few answers in Hastings' overly long email (and video) and so many more frustrating questions that remain to be addressed. But in the history of poor communication with customers, and terribly integrated service changes, this Netflix/Qwikster debacle has to be near the top of the list. If you can't explain it in less than 13 paragraphs, don't expect us to understand it, Reed.

All of that said, from a business world perspective, this all makes perfect sense. Hastings has long seen streaming as the future of the business and their current dealmaking and power plays have pointed toward growth in that arena. You can bet the company's recent pick up of the David Fincher/Kevin Spacey series "House of Cards" is going to be a major anchor in their streaming biz and will just be the tip of the iceberg as Netflix flirts in the world of being a cable company. Also, DVD mailing as a business will only be financially viable for so long and splitting those costs/expenses/etc into two companies means they can budget accordingly and if/when that service is eventually phased out it won't be at the expense of the more lucrative streaming entity.

So here we are, six paragraphs from where we started and still befuddled by Netflix's bull in a china shop approach to change. Here's the video of Reed Hastings talking about the future of the company. We have to admit, it's so cringeworthy and embarrassing, we couldn't make it through the whole thing.

This article is related to: TV Networks, NetFlix


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates