Netflix Makes Monstrous Move to Kill DVDs

netflix streaming serviceAfter months of complaining about the Netflix subscription price hike and less than a month after the bump actually occurred, the company's CEO, Reed Hastings, is hastening to apologize to customers and completely change Netflix service as we know it. No big surprise this news is coming in the wake of a super-dip in the price of Netflix stock (NFLX)! Hastings has announced the split of the DVD and video streaming services -- DVDs-by-mail (plus video game rentals) will now be available through the spin-off company Qwikster, and Netflix will now only be streaming service. So guess this means if you didn't already throw in the towel in a fit of anger about the new subscription fees, now you'll have to decide whether or not you want to become a NEW customer of Qwikster. Ugh, annoying!

Obviously, Hastings thinks the future of entertainment is watching everything on your laptop.

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It's clear he doesn't want to see Netflix go the way of "AOL dialup and Borders bookstores" (aka into the obsolete void), so he's split off the DVD-by-mail service in an effort to keep the Netflix brand moving in the direction of "The Future" ... which he sees as streaming only. How much you wanna bet what he really would have liked to do is kill off the DVD-by-mail service altogether? It probably costs the company more money to send out actual DVDs. But can the company really thrive on streaming alone?

I'm not so sure. The thing is, right now, the quality of Netflix's streaming service BLOWS. The company owes most of its success to people like my film student friends from college who ate/drank/breathed movies and used Netflix to consume everything from All About Eve to Arrested Development. The streaming service as it exists now is not enough to hold any REAL movie lover's attention. All it's good for is old TV shows and movies that either bombed at the box office or came out in 1984, AKA flicks you can get on DVD at the bargain bin at a dollar store. I doubt most people will be apt to pay for streaming Netflix on its own, unless they're guaranteed to get new releases, quality classics, and an all-around better title selection.

Netflix may think streaming is the future, but it won't truly be unless they can get their act together. And, in the meantime, will people really want to pay for a separate service under the Qwikster brand name? I'm not so sure it'll feel worth the hassle. Overall, this identity crisis Netflix is going through seems like all it will manage to do -- at least initially -- is alienate its most loyal customers.

What do you think about the company split? Do you see yourself being a customer of both Netflix AND Qwikster, or just one or the other?

 

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