Monday, September 19th, 2011

The Great Netflix Freakout

Everyone is losing their minds over Netflix's announcement that they'll split into two companies: one that does streaming (called "Netflix") and one that does DVDs, called… Qwikster? (This comes after last week's Netflix freakout, over changes to pricing which immediately sent its stock down 19%.)

Now everyone is making fun of CEO Reed Hastings on his own corporate blog. But not just there! Everyone is also making fun of them everywhere else for not securing the Qwikster Twitter account before announcing this new company, which is lackadaisically maintained by a madly inarticulate marijuana-loving gamer named Jason Castillo.

I'm about hungry as shyt but my dad doesn't want to buy me food lik wtfSun May 01 01:59:07 via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Good stuff. There is now, of course, a fake Reed Hastings Twitter profile.

A customer has just requested a Qwikster DVD mail order catalog…it's like he read my mind. You're all getting it now!
Sep 19 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

EVERYONE IS SO UNHAPPY NOW. Also, everyone knows how to run a multimillion dollar company now.

37 Comments / Post A Comment

zidaane (#373)

I wonder if Kenneth's middle name is Karl?

keisertroll (#1,117)

@zidaane KU-FLUCK, new from Parker Brothers!

keisertroll (#1,117)

Well, at least he didn't call it "The Classical". All that Kickstarter love would've been thrown out the window.

blackalabama (#1,434)

When they charged separate for DVD and streaming, I didn't complain because hey, it's still cheaper than paying for cable. But this? WTF?!

First off all, the name. QWIKSTER? SERIOUSLY? No one at the company thought that was just a terrible name?

Also, why are they cutting integration between the DVD and instant queues? If I have something in my DVD queue that gets added to instant viewing, it also appears in that queue.

I guess I'm just annoyed because this news comes right when I'm about to get the SCTV series on DVD. I obviously can't unsubscribe to Qwikster now.

laurel (#4,035)

@blackalabama: I was hoping for Diskster.

blackalabama (#1,434)

@laurel Diskster would work. Even Diskflix or DVDflix or whatever else besides Qwikster. Just a really bad name.

NominaStultorum (#1,638)

@blackalabama: "Look At This Fucking Qwikster."

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Quit whining and just drive to Blockbuster. Christ, what a bunch of entitled assholes.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@boyofdestiny You mean walk to Videology? Absolutely.

flossy (#1,402)

@Niko Bellic I walked past that place the other day, and I have to say, for a museum exhibit it is seriously lacking in any kind of didactic signage. I know we're trending away from overbearing wall texts but come on.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@flossy It's one of my favorite spots in this city. It's very pleasant inside, and you get to say hi to your neighbors. Also: where else can you get your latest Blue Ray releases from? Streaming services charge twice the money for less than a quarter of the quality, have a fraction of choice, and offer it later. I'm not gonna wait a few days for anything in the mail, when I'm in the mood (and have time) to see a movie now. It totally makes sense to me that they would survive the stupid by-mail business.

Bittersweet (#765)

@boyofdestiny: Our local Blockbuster closed a year ago. The only non-Netflix choice nearby is Red Box at the Cumberland Farms.

rj77 (#210)

@boyofdestiny Or just go to the library, which is free, and lets you reserve titles online….which is what I've been doing since canceling my Netflix account 3 years ago.

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Great. Once people stop watching TV and paying for the privilege, maybe then they will open their eyes, figure out our reality is fucked, and do something about it.

Ham Snadwich (#11,842)

@johnpseudonym Is this where I go to mention that I don't even own a teevee?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@johnpseudonym Right, going to take care of that fucked reality problem as soon as I stop commenting.

brad (#1,678)

@johnpseudonym – hmm. (turns off tv)

(goes outside)

(looks around)

brad (#1,678)


(frantically turns on tv and searches for gilligans island)


"If Netflix doesn't offer a film via streaming, will Qwikster provide a DVD drive for my iPad?"

jfruh (#713)

It's probably not the worst idea business-wise, though if the two companies are intended to stay under the same corporate umbrella indefinitely why not cross-promote in the "This selection is not available on Netflix … would you like to add it to your Qwikster queue?" sense. BUT the name "Qwikster" is so jaw-droppingly awful that it's hard to take anything about it seriously. My guess is that they're keen to get rid of the business and trying to actively humiliate anyone who still wants to get DVDs through the mail.

@jfruh : It is a horrendous name. (insert filesharing + chocolate milk joke here)

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@jfruh Your guess is correct.

areaderwrites (#592)

I'm pretty serious about watching titles that interest me (period pieces, Blaxploitation, classic TV series) as opposed to current Hollywood blockbusters, most of which I don't care about at all. So the day I can actually watch *any title currently available on DVD* via streaming video is the day I drop DVDs. The Netflix streaming library still leaves a lot to be desired, most of the items in my queue are DVD-only. So hey Netflix, I could probably drop streaming rather than drop DVDs, and use the Roku box to stream other content. That kind of blows your business model, unless your goal is to spin off the DVD-rental division or protect your precious "Netflix" brand (and its stock price) from the fallout from the implosion of the USPS.

Jared (#1,227)

@areaderwrites Yeah, this kind of destroys the idea of the long tail, doesn't it?

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@areaderwrites I know Facets is not as smooth of a user experience, but that's only because they are less about "business" and more about film. If you want your personal niche tastes to be satisfied at the level that only mass marketable products can be, you are asking for impossible.

laurel (#4,035)

@areaderwrites: And, the streaming stuff still looks shitty. So sure, stream a TV show from two seasons ago, but a decent film? It's just sad.

I think your US Postal Service theory is the only thing that makes sense.

areaderwrites (#592)

@laurel Yep, I use streaming to watch old 4X3 low-res tv shows almost exclusively.

@laurel, @areaderwrites : Yes, and YES. When streaming a movie looks as good as playing from a DVD, and the streaming library is as complete as the DVD library, then I'll switch over. Also, lack of subtitles on the majority of streaming stuff is kind of a dealbreaker.

Bittersweet (#765)

@areaderwrites: Your 'implosion of the USPS' theory intrigues me, and makes me wonder if we'll be seeing similar shenanigans from publishers trying to embarrass us out of our print subscriptions.

(Yes, there are some of us who still get magazines made out of trees and ink.)

areaderwrites (#592)

@Bittersweet I like my magazines "analog" as well–because I can't read The New Yorker in the bathtub on a tablet.

hypnosifl (#9,470)

@areaderwrites Honestly I think the thing in the screencap about not telling you if a DVD is also available streaming has gotta be the single stupidest aspect of this–other than that it's basically just a cosmetic change from the customer's point of view (I'm sure they probably have business reasons for wanting a separate set of corporate overlords for each type of business, but it doesn't make much difference to me). But like yours, a lot of my DVD queue consists of stuff that isn't available streaming, they really want me to go over and re-enter every title on the streaming site even when I know I'll have a pretty high failure rate? That would be annoying enough that I'll probably just cancel my subscription to the streaming service instead, even though the price hike hadn't motivated me to cancel it before.

Don Is (#10,212)

Will I be able to share my Qwikster que on my Friendster profile?

E (#14,552)

I find it really amusing that when they spilt the streaming and dvd pricing they sent an email out that had the tone of, "GREAT NEWS GUYZ!". Then they decide they can't leave it alone so they get to work on this new bad idea, and announce it this way, "We are so sorry about changing our business model. SO SO SORRY, that we have no choice but to change our business model further and worser! YAY/Sorry!"

I don't understand what is so challenging to businesses about the idea that if your model is working okay, don't completely change it on a whim. I'm looking at you Google Buzz.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

Well great, there goes my brilliant "Belgian cheeseburgers by mail" business idea.

Qwikster, MySpace, the new Coke: all ideas ahead of their time

blackalabama (#1,434)

@laurel Diskster would work. Even Diskflix or DVDflix or whatever else besides Qwikster. Just a really bad name.

purefog (#999)

It is an homage to Qwest, that fabulous business product that just kept getting worse and worse and is now known (to anyone who hasn't fallen asleep or moved to Verizon) as "CenturyLink." Blerg. And yes, as a poster said, the lack of closed captioning on MOST streaming Netflix has been annoying for a while, and is only getting more annoying as they have figured out how to incorporate it on some 59 (unsorted) pages of listings, but don't make it the default setting for ALL movies that include it on their DVD's (which is most movies nowadays). In fact, now that I think of it, I think I will just tell Reed to take a hike until they figure that one out, and will resort to my local video shop (still hanging on) and the libe. Also, I still like to read, so there's that.

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