“I have some great ideas on how to make our services less convenient!”
Some folks around the web have been wondering if these were the recent thoughts of Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings before he announced that Netflix would be dividing into two services: the streaming portion continuing under the name of Netflix and a separate DVD portion going under the less-than-catchy Qwikster. And by separate, it seems Hastings means truly separate when it comes to these two. An article on Slate today summed up some of the problems associated with this:
Most of Netflix’s customers subscribe to both DVDs and streaming, and if they’re like me, they like the service because it enables both not-so-picky instant gratification and well-considered delayed gratification. I use the DVD service to select movies that I really want to watch and am willing to wait for; I use the streaming service when I want to watch something – and pretty much anything – right now. I can keep doing this after the DVD plan is renamed Qwikster, but it will require more work. If I search for a movie on Qwikster, it won’t tell me that the movie can be seen for free, right now, on Netflix. If I search for a movie on Netflix and don’t find it, it won’t let me add it to my DVD queue.
On the other hand, perhaps Hastings is looking towards the future – it is only natural, as DVD viewings are on the decline with the popularity of streaming on computers and through video game and Blu-ray systems. Having two separate companies means that when the time comes and DVD viewings begin an even more dramatic decline and more people stream, Netflix will already be well ahead of the game not having to focus on the rising costs of shipping DVDs. That will be Qwikster’s problem.
What do you think of these unexpected turn of events? Is Harrington alienating even more Netflix users, making it easy for some competition to get a stronghold? Or is he justly thinking ahead?