Splitster

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Reed Hastings seems like a made up CEO name. Like someone that moves to Hollywood and changes their name to Selby Feingold to Rock Explosionhole or somehting. I feel like this guy has the right idea in wanting to hedge his bets that streaming will overtake physical media for movie distribution in the coming years, but his decision to split Netflix into two companies (thus raising prices, and confusion for customers) is definitely shortsighted. The real problem for me is that neither side of Netflix, streaming or DVDs by mail, was really worth my money. It was the combination of both services for one price that made it worth while. I only take one physical DVD from them maybe ever 6-8 weeks and I only watch 4-5 streaming shows a month (most of which are for my daughter). All of that in total was worth the $9 I was paying. Of course now that fee is $16 and soon it will be split between two sites with two logins and two different credit card charges. I’m not entirely sure what the fee breakdown is going to be when the dust settles, but I have a feeling I will be far less enthusiastic about keeping both services, which in turn will make me less likely to keep either.

Unless Netflix come out in the next couple of months with some KILLER content deals, I don’t see me sticking around for that long. They are going to need something along the lines of EVERY major hollywood release available for streaming no more than 30 days after the DVD hits stores to keep their product viable. Something tells me that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The only thing that makes me hesitate abandoning them in favor of other streaming sites and RedBox is the back catalog. If I really want to see The Last Starfighter and I don’t already own it, Netf… Qwikster is going to be my only legitimate option… unless that movie is already on streaming. I haven’t checked.

I think Hastings needs to integrate his “divide to accommodate” strategy into every aspect of his life. “Hey kids, from now on the person known as ‘Dad’ is going to split into two entities. ‘Dad’ will still be around if you need advice on dating, or help with your homework, but when you step out of line, don’t clean your room or break curfew you are going to have to answer with ‘THE PAIN HAMMER.’ Remember, ‘Dad’ will always love you and be there for you, but ‘THE PAIN HAMMER’ is going to crush you.

COMMENTERS: What other changes or alternative delivery methods could Qwikster implement to grab our attention? What other companies or institutions could be broken up into smaller, more confusing entities? Perhaps “The Post Office” will still sell stamps and envelopes, but if you actually want to mail something you have to deal with “BlergBlorg,” the Internet startup that consists of mail trucks that randomly drive around major US cities collecting mail from people lucky enough to find them. Also, who already owns the Twitter names of the new companies? @BlergBlorg belong to a convicted sea lion rapist.

Serious question: If you have Netflix, are you going to keep both services? Just one? Neither? Why?

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61 Comments

  1. Apparently Netflix want to launch their services over here in England, have they forgotten about the internet? Their recent ideas have given them a bad rep to precede them. And they intend to beat down our own established version of Netflix?

  2. I really feel sorry for Netflix. I really do. The price hike is not necessarily the fault of Netflix. Content providers have pretty much been demanding higher prices from them and threatening to just pull their content if they don't get it. Starz (I believe) did that some time ago because Netflix couldn't meet their price. They are in a really shitty situation.

    • Apparently the content providers are starting to wonder why they can't just create and "be" their own Netflix.
      They don't seem to understand that a third-party is necessary for people to Want To Pay Money.
      The convenience of paying once in total instead of paying once per provider is always underrated.

  3. my gf just cancelled the dvd portion of our netflix after the announcement. i think if they get a good content deal with some studio then it might be worth it to get it again.

  4. I use netflix now, (both dvd and streaming) and will probably keep it for a while, because I use it a lot, and there isn't really anything comparable that I've come across, but if somebody comes up in the wake of this and does it smarter, I'll probably go with them.

  5. I'm a little worried about being screwed over by my internet service provider, AT&T. They're assholes. If I go to streaming only, I stand a good chance of surpassing my data cap which means paying more money for already shitty service. I think Netflix is getting jerked around by the content providers and the service providers and then making some really bad decisions about how to pass the shittiness along to the customer. Also, Qwikster is a stupid name. I'll have to see how inconvenient it is to have two separate accounts (first world problems), but for now, I'll keep both services going.

      • Humans are just so Pase – now if you used chartered accountants, investment bankers, or Lawyers then that would be something else entirely.

        • I'd go with politicians. They're permanently on a crush, kill, destroy mission against anyone who makes less than £200k and the republicans/tea partiers seem intent on appearing irretrievably rabid, so apart from the fact that they'd steal everything they were sent to deliver, they'd be the delivery animal of choice for me.

    • That's the idea. By the time you've removed the lycaon pictus from your house and applied a rag to your bleeding arm, the bonobo's on the couch already watching the DVD and probably making passes at your female/male family members and/or pets.

      Doesn't mean it's a bad thing, though. No-one has made the move to capture the masochist-bestiality market yet, and Reed just put his foot in through the door.

  6. Bonobos are *very* chill, if you're talking about violence. On the other hand, they are the sex fiends of primatology, all of them pansexuals of the "anything that moves" outlook. So, for anyone who doesn't want to be molested by a horny little ape, sending a bonobo to their house is quite a threat… but I agree that the appearance in the comic would be much more appropriate for a chimp.

    Incidentally, primatologists are less picky about the difference between monkeys and apes than regular pedants who have been taught that there's a huge distinction. Unfortunately, "monkeys" without tails like the Barbary "ape" (which was named that because it didn't have a tail, and then was reclassified), and some that have tails but are as sophisticated as gorillas and gibbons like the several species of Baboon, blur the line to the point where primatologists don't find it useful any more.

  7. I'll be keeping netflix/qwicksterto see how things play out – especially once all the starz content gets dropped from netflix. I use both features a lot, so I'm hesitant to drop them completely, but I may begin shopping around.

    Also "qwickster" is a terrible name for a movie rental business. It seems like some bastard offspring of the failed "friendster." To me, "Qwickster" sounds like someone created a social network site based around the cybersex version of a "quickie." The lack of proper spelling also does nothing to move it in a porn-free direction.

    • To me "Qwickster" sounds like a perfect storm of both Marketing and Legal drunkfail.

      "What should we call this new service?"
      "Only thing we can get approved cheaply and by the lawyers is MonkeyPox, NAMBLA, or Qwickster."
      "While this *NAMBLA* intrigues me, think we'll go with Qwickster. We can save MonkeyPox for our overseas delivery operation."

  8. Instead of delivering movies through the interwebs, why not breed a legion of genetically enhanced goliath spiders to weave a real web over the country and use that to deliver DVD's?

  9. I dropped the dvd service as soon as I could go streaming only. The discs usually sat around for a while gathering dust anyway. I wanted to watch them when I put them in the queue, not days or months later. I don't watch regular tv so I don't have commercials brainwashing into me the need to watch the newest stuff. There's plenty of interesting things I haven't seen on netflix yet.

    On the rare occasions that there is something brand new that I just need to see I'll see it in the theater the weekend it comes out. I figure if I can wait more than a week or so to see something then there's no hurry and I don't really care when it gets released on DVD or whatever.

  10. I haven't owned a TV since it became "reality". Netflix is my only entertainment bill, so I don't mind $16. It beats the hell out of cable prices.
    But the marketing has been poorly handled and I agree that qwikster sounds too much like napster and friendster and even a little like a cheap porn site.

    • Less than $20 for virtually any movie or TV show that's on DVD versus $50 for Dancing With Douchebags Live? Netflix is a goddamn bargain.

      • Aw, but so-and-so washed up TV star/rapper/O.J. Simpson trial personality/famous rich person's kid made it to the semi-finals or whatever!

  11. I ditched my one DVD and went to streaming only as soon as I heard about the price hike. Streaming has all the Star Treks from TOS to Enterprise (I know, I know) and Dr. Who, McGuyver, and Top Gear. They also have lots of older movies that I will watch more than once.

    I loathe the name Qwikster more than I can adequately express. It is right up there with SyFy and fucking Cloo!

  12. I'm on streaming-only now. I'll definitely be keeping that, because I use it CONSTANTLY (mostly for Doctor Who, Top Gear and Eureka, but I do watch actual movies on it once or twice a month, and there are a lot of shows my daughter likes, too). I've been thinking about getting the DVD service back, at least long enough to finish going through what I already had in my queue, but now that they're splitting it into a different site I'm not sure I want to bother with it.

  13. I'm keeping them both for now but i'm tentative about the qwikster thing and overall it sort of sounds way more confusing then necessary. On the other hand i only have cable for 6 months because it came with my new internet which is why i got netflix in the first place.

  14. Splitting the company isn't short sighted at all, in fact, it's rather smart and forward thinking. The clue is that they gave the *old* method the new name. DVDs by mail, that's now Qwikster, while streaming is Netflix, right? And when DVDs by mail starts to fail as a business model – and it will, it's only a matter of time – they can kill off that brand without harming the more established Netflix brand.

    If they hadn't split, the company would lose a significant amount of value in the long term as the DVDs by mail side of the house withered and died. Now, they can avoid that and keep the Netflix brand stable.

    I'm a streaming customer, not a physical media customer, so I'm sticking with Netflix.

  15. It may be worth it for me because they're including Video Games in the mix. If they do that, I can cancel my Gamefly account and save myself sixteen bucks a month.
    If they really wanted business to spike, they'd find a way to include porn. THAT would bring back a lot of business.

    • Yeah, Netflix is still a great deal and it offers a ton of top-notch streaming content. No other service offers a comparable value. Everyone on the internet just wants to look like he/she knows how to run a multi-million dollar company.

  16. I'm on the streaming-only subscription and that's definitely worth the 9 bucks a month. I barely used it for the first two months but lately I've been using it everyday because I've had a lot of time off recently.

    • Bah! Half my post got cut-off…

      I actually agree w/ Dan Clark here. There's no reason to keep DVD's inside the business since it's getting riskier by the day. But the name for it is very questionable. Sounds like some sort of lame 90's cartoon character.

    • Yes, there is something to be said about being well ahead of the game – you usually trip and everyone else runs you over …..

  17. I got rid of the DVD portion in August, not because of the actual price (I use the service instead of having a TV, so I get a lot of use out of it) but because of the extreme price hike. The old service was giving you the DVD option for $2 more than the streaming. They hiked that up 400%. I would never pay 400% more for the same thing!

    Of course, now the streaming is changing daily, with some things not offered anymore (first season of Star Trek:TNG is suddenly gone?) I understand they have legal and pricing issues, but they could have been upfront and said what their problems were. Fortunately for them, I'm too lazy to go try other services, so they still have me as a customer for now…

  18. Huh. I'm a total movie whore, but I've never bothered with Netflix. We've got a great independent video rental place in town, and the same folks run the independent movie theater. I can't imagine my town without either of them. If I'm home sick or something, I rent from iTunes.

    • Where is this mythical town, and are they currently accepting applications? Would you be interested in adopting a 30-year-old orphan?

  19. My working theory is that Reed Hastings and Mark Zuckerberg have a bet going to see who can generate the most nerd-rage this week.

    We have both right now and will be dropping DVD as soon as we finish the last disc of FNL season 5. We're going to try out Amazon streaming (already Prime members anyhow) — we mostly use streaming for the kids and for older TV shows — and if it works for us, we'll be dropping Netflix for that, too. We still have cable, and either get the newer movies we want to see on demand (or DVR'ed) there or rent them pretty cheaply from Amazon streaming — we don't watch enough that it's going to exceed the $16 a month we're shelling out for Netflix, certainly.

    For me this issue of the split is that I *do* use both services and so they are actually removing some pretty useful functionality for me (namely, when I put something in my DVD queue and it becomes available for streaming, it just shows up in that queue automagically and also, when I want to watch something specific, I only need to check one site to see what format it's available in). Granted, I will no longer have that functionality either way, but I'm disinclined to continue giving money to the people who took it away…especially since they want me to give them MORE money for the decreased functionality.

    • I agree. I have both services (mostly for the back catalogue) and the loss of that functionality bothers me MUCH more than the price increase. Because I've had the 3 DVD plan, my plan cost didn't really increase that much. I'll probably keep them both for now and see what happens after a couple of months.

      • I concur. Netflix is pretty much my only entertainment budget, so it's not so much the price increase that bothers me. I'm mainly pissed that they're killing both the ability to search for films/shows in both formats at once AND the combined ratings feature. If I rate a movie that's only available on DVD, that rating will no longer factor into which films they think I'll like on Instant. (Then again, are their oddly-specific "taste preferences" rows ever *that* helpful? There aren't exactly shit-tons of "Cerebral, Visually-Striking British Dramas with a Strong Female Lead" or whatever it is they're recommending to me this time…)

  20. This reminds me of King Solomon threatening to cut the baby in half. Only this time he really means to follow through with it while keeping the money-making half. Probably the top half.

  21. I don't understand why streaming video needs to have a different name. NetFlix makes perfect sense for that. "Oh, it's movies on the web. I get it."
    I never understood what the name "Netflix" had to do with mailing DVDs. If it needs to split off, then the mail portion should be called something like MailFlix. (but that's probably already gay porn delivery)

  22. I have Netflix. I used to do the same plan – one DVD and then streaming. But my husband and I used the streaming a TON (vs. only a few shows a month). We went down to just streaming when they changed the pricing structure, because we realized we ended up sitting on the DVDs for months at a time, and it would be better to RedBox it or use Amazon's streaming of new releases if we were so moved (sometimes they're on sale for less than the usual $3.99).

    As for a new delivery method, okay picture this: In retail shopping centers around the country, they could set up a "store" and have the DVD boxes out on "shelves". The browsing interface would be very physical; you actually walk through aisles of these "shelves" and pick a DVD with your hand (aka "analog pointer").

    Whaddya think?

  23. I had Netflix 3 at a time, then they hiked the price, so I dropped to 1 at a time, then they split and I dropped them altogether. I'll get my new movies from Redbox for $1 now – given it's at least 3 days (1 to ship, 1 to watch, 1 to ship back) odds are good I'll save money this way. There was almost never anything good on Netflix streaming anyway, and the delayed gratification of Netflix shipping means that the disk would sit on the edge of the counter for days waiting on its trip to the mailbox.
    Anyway, what I'm curious about… Netflix is splitting into two companies, what's that do to their rights to distribute? Would they have to pay twice to make the same movies available? Are any of their current contracts exclusive? Meaning they wouldn't be able to offer as much as before because of the breach of contract with themselves? 😀

  24. I still maintain (as I did when they announced the price hike) that Netflix IS actually trying to get people to cancel their DVD subscriptions, then using that as evidence/ammunition to get providers to allow streaming of more of their shows/movies. Show the providers that DVDs mean you only reach x amount of the total subscribers type thing. If it works, and they can completely get rid of DVDs, it'll be brilliant. I definitely understand where they're coming from, and if I still have a DVD plan, you bet it'd be cancelled right about now.

  25. Joel, you summed up my thoughts perfectly — the combined deal was just what I wanted at a price I was happy to pay, but I can't see paying this much for two services that aren't quite what I want.

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