Netflix is dropping Qwikster, the DVD-only spin-off announced last month.
In a short blog post
on Monday morning, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said:
“It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.
“This means no change: one website, one account, one password … in other words, no Qwikster.”
Hastings and Netflix after Qwikster was unveiled. The plan was to have two brands—one that handled streaming titles only (Netflix), and another that dealt only with DVDs by mail (Qwikster)—with two separate websites. Many wondered why the company would create two websites that don't integrate, essentially making the user experience more difficult.
When Hastings introduced the plan in a Sept. 18 blog post
, he struck a conciliatory tone, apologizing to customers for having failed to communicate to them when it hiked its prices in July
. “When Netflix is evolving rapidly … I need to be extra-communicative,” he said last month. “This is the key thing I got wrong.”
Looks like he’s not going to catch a break with his latest announcement.
The company’s stock price was up 10 percent in pre-market trading
on Monday, but comments to Hastings’ blog post were mixed. Some reiterated their discontent with all things Netflix, others thanked the company, and many called for Hastings’ head.
“Reed step down, you blew it,” said a commenter
. “Name your next company Trickster...”
Other commenters have asked what the new decision means for video game rentals, which Hastings had proudly introduced in his Sept. 18 post. There’s not mention of video games in Monday’s post.
Also, customers have yet to receive any direct communications (read: email) from the company about its latest plans.
So much for being “extra-communicative.”
Twitter lit up on Monday morning after the blog post went live. Many PR and marketing professionals expressed confusion over the company’s “flip-flopping.”
“Oh this makes my head hurt,” Gini Dietrich, the CEO of a PR shop in Chicago, tweeted
“What a mess,” tweeted
GolinHarris’s Len Kendall.
“I'm frequently thrilled I'm not in PR for Netflix,” tweeted
PR pro Natalie Ebig Scott.
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst at Altimeter, called the move
a “good choice.”
One person who hasn’t weighed in yet—the teenager who owned the Qwikster Twitter account
. When Hastings unveiled the plan, PR and marketing pros slapped their foreheads
over the company’s apparent failure to secure the account, which was run by a foul-mouthed marijuana enthusiast (who has since insisted
he doesn’t use drugs and has started tweeting about his Bible studies
So far, he’s remained silent on Twitter.