Netflix CEO says he 'messed up,' will rename DVD service 'Qwikster'

There’s another change afoot at Netflix, and, this time around, the company’s CEO hopes customers don’t balk at it quite like they did the last time the rental service shook things up. In a blog post published yesterday — just days after Netflix’s stock fell almost 15 percent — Reed Hastings apologized to users for how the company handled the announcement back in July that it would split their DVD and streaming services, charging customers more money to take advantage of both. “I messed up,” Hastings wrote. “It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility … That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.”

Hastings goes on to explain why Netflix chose to split the services, pointing towards an evolving market. “We realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently,” he wrote.

So, Netflix has decided to re-brand its DVD service, which will now be named Qwikster. (Hastings says the company chose the name to evoke quick delivery.) “Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to. It is just a new name,” Hastings wrote. Customers can access their DVD cues at Qwikster.com, and will now be able to take advantage of video game rentals.

There is, however, one more downside to the new separation. Since the Netflix and Qwikster sites will no longer be integrated, users will have to subscribe to both services, entering in their credit card information separately. But never fear, purists: Hastings says the red envelopes are here to stay. “The Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy,” Hastings wrote. “The new envelope is still that distinctive red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be the same for many of you.”

Read more:
Netflix stocks fall as members flee
Netflix streaming went down, Netflix user rage went up
Netflix splits streaming and DVD into separate plans, meaning many users will pay more

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  • Hank

    Qwikster? The reason I canceled my Netflix account was because it started taking longer and longer to receive my DVDs from them. And then it would take a while for them to receive the DVDs back. Average of 3-4 days each way.

    • gary

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      • Fay

        Get lost..

    • Strepsi

      AMAZON.com easily manages its services on one site, you have one account, and manage your virtual shopping in an easy “Manage My Kindle” section. Why couldn’t Netlix do the same with an easy “manage my DVD orders” section?

      I am in Marketing and this past month reeks of an out of control Marketing Department… I actually pity the CEO, who is apoligizing for their missteps. He’ll be making another one a month from now…. Quikster??!

    • @Hank

      You must live in the boonies or something. I get mine next day and returned the same.
      Video game rentals: Yay!

    • Jay

      @Hank: for the record, 3-4 days turnaround time on an exchange through the USPS is pretty darn good. What is it you were expecting?

    • Heather

      Really? I have never had a problem with this. I would usually send the movie out on one day, it would arrive the next and then probably get it the day or two after that!

    • SirLizard

      When I send a disc back, they always receive it the next day, and my next disc always arrives the day after that. I’ve never had an exception. I’ve always been amazed by the quick turnover. That said, I wasn’t pleased when they separated out the streaming option from my plan. If I sign up for a service, you shouldn’t take HALF of it away and expect me to pay the same price or more than I’d paid when I signed up. They can’t excuse that, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Ash

      I don’t get the complaints. Personally, all I need is the dvd by mail service. Because online streaming I can find anywhere. There are so many websites that offer free online streaming- hulu, thewb.com, or just any old 3rd party streaming site

    • Tom

      They just can’t seem to get their heads out of their rear ends with this. Don’t raise fees or membership dues until you because mainstream. Don’t just change the names like people wouldn’t notice. Just be successful at providing the best service possible. And -then- when that -happens- you can raise your damn rates Netflix. How dumb are these guys?

  • Sven

    Not the three way I envisioned being a part of…

    • An Average Sized Mustache

      What’s wrong with a little hot mail/streaming action?

      • Karl

        Hot male streaming action?

  • sara

    I was one of the few people who didn’t get upset when they raised the prices. I wasn’t happy about it but I accepted it.

    The film companies want more money from Netflix to stream their movies so Netflix passed it on to the consumers. That is normal.

    This separation of websites/credit card info/queues upsets me. I currently have both services and like the dvd by mail because MOST movies/tv shows I want to see are not available for streaming. Now I’m stuck having to go back and forth between two different websites?

    If I can’t keep it all straight on one website I am more likely to drop the mail dvd and go to Redbox.

    • Daniel

      We only use the streaming service, so we didn’t get upset. But I don’t get the name change. “We messed up, we’re sorry, and to make it up to you, we’ll change names around and make people dually subscribe.”

      • sara

        Have you had problems with the streaming service lately? I have not watched it much but when I have it seems to freeze up more often. Could be my connection and not Netflix.

        It does not make sense at all.

      • Warda

        Daniel, you’ve completely hit the nail on the head. I can’t say I feel particularly mollified by this “apology.”

      • kiki

        Exactly what I was going to say, Daniel! This CEO clearly doesn’t get that he has just alienated even more customers with this move.

      • Diane

        I don’t even use NetFlix and that’s exactly what I thought. Gee-we screwed up so badly we’re rebranding and in the process making things harder for you.” Um, thanks?

      • DRG

        An out of touch CEO? Get out!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Sam

        Spot on…. Who is this guy. If I were on the Board, I’d ask Hastings to resign. I was a Netflix user, but no more. Don’t get me wrong, the pricing was a small issue compared to how it was done. This latest move just pushed me over the edge. Redbox here I come…

      • Dirk

        Netflix DRM won’t work on my brand new linux laptop. I have flash video on every other website, but not Netflix… I can watch movies on youtube for 3.99 a pop. I can’t use Netflix. Lame. L-A-M-E. They should change the name it ScamFlix. Bait and Switchro.

    • judy

      I am the same as you Sara. Didn’t have a problem with the rate change but this is ridiculous. This will get me to check into other services.

      • Jay

        I agree it is frustrating… but look into other services that do this and you will find there really isn’t anything that compares. Nothing even comes close. (unless you like dealing with a certain, red, box shaped vending machine, and that has the dreaded late-fees anyway)

    • Renee

      I agree, Sara. I understood why they had to raise prices but have to work in both queues (and figure out what movies I want are available on DVD or instant) is just double work. It’s like they are tring to destroy their company. I don’t understand this move at all.

      • Veritas

        That IS the point…they have wanted to end the DVD service for quite a while…it’s much cheaper for them if everyone just streams.

      • Esox

        Yes, but until streaming is realiable and has more titles, it shoulfd be no more than a side benefit. Just an example. I maxed out my DVD queue at 500. About 70 of those titles can be streamed.

      • District 12

        …problem is that their streaming services have barely any current movies, they are losing Starz play (which was the only way they had new releases), and they don’t even have a decent selection of old movies. A few months ago my hubby and I did a marathon of the old Star Trek movies (he has never seen them before) and Wrath of Khan had no sound the entire movie. We reported it of course and even called several times to complain that it had not been fixed. The two months it was available to instant stream it never had sound. After it was removed from instant watch I called to ask why it was never fixed and some service rep had the audacity to tell me that no one ever reported there being a problem. This is not the only time we have had problems with their streaming services. Many things are blurry, stop frequently, or simply won’t play. Every time we report an issue with a movie it seems like they just take the movie off instant instead of fixing the problem. There is no way an all instant plan would ever work because they can’t even fix the problems they have with it now.

    • rob

      super agree

    • Tyler

      Agreed with Sara completely. I wasn’t that upset about the price hike, and I stuck with Netflix just cause it was so convenient (and probably a little because I’m lazy). But it’s literally like they’re trying to make it as complicated a process as possible now.

      And you have to rate movies on both sites now? Netflix already takes long enough to get most new releases. In fact, I think Bridesmaids is still listed as release date unknown, and doesn’t it come out tomorrow? Redbox is looking better and better.

  • Michelle

    I changed to DVD only since everything on streaming is ancient. But we haven’t even been using the DVDs…I have had one out for over 2 months now and just remembered we have to watch it. Total waste of money. Going to cancel and start using Red Box and whatever they don’t have, I’ll dig through the $5 bin at Walmart.

    • Diane

      Try streaming at Amazon. They have some almost current movies

      • Michelle

        Can you stream through a gaming system or only your computer?

    • KanedaX

      Well, it IS a waste of money if you sit on one dvd for two months. I watch mine almost right away and mail it back almost right away, gets me through 4-5 movies a month.

      I don’t like what they’re doing, but I’m going to stick with both for now. I use streaming mostly for television shows, and I have a massive backlog of non-streaming movies that I want to see and haven’t, not all of them recent. Until Netflix boosts their streaming library I really don’t see any cheaper option for me. Unfortunately.

      • amber

        Well, aren’t you just the monkey’s banana?

      • Michelle

        That was my point. It’s a waste of money on my part to sit on the movie. I’m not doing it intentionally, but life gets in the way and sometimes we can’t watch them almost right away.

      • dede

        REDBOX is cheaper!

  • TCrab

    There is absolutely no reason why they have to split the services between two different websites. Why make it more inconvenient for your customers ( the ones left that you haven’t completely alienated)?? Bye Bye Netflix/Qwixster

    • Eshia

      Totally agree, TCrab! An apology letter usually comes with a better deal. They’re just adding to the frustration. Now I have to navigate the 2 websites. That was the only thing that still worked out.

    • Kate

      Agreed. I assumed I would probably drop DVDs at some point since I don’t use them as much, but hadn’t been particularly motivated to do it just yet. This sealed it for me. I had calmed down about the price increase, but making it more work for me to keep both? I’m canceling the DVD service immediately.

    • Chip

      Well it makes it much harder for customers to see the disparity in the selection between the streaming and the DVD services… that’s probably why they did it.

      • TTG

        That’s a good point. You’re right that you won’t see the huge mass that isn’t streaming. (Unless it’s something like Spartacus, where only the second season is on streaming, but not the first.)

        Another bummer is that it’s not easy to see when older movies in your DVD queue suddenly enter “streaming” mode. (I always have to look over the whole list each week to see what changes happened.) It sounds like you’ll have to check both sites and compare lists so you don’t accidently get a DVD of something that just started to stream…

    • Cate

      Well it seems to me to be a precursor to selling one side of the business…and I totally agree with the separate queues/website annoyance.

  • Kristina with a K

    This was the lamest email I’ve ever received.

    • Karate Pants

      Totally. And “QWIKSTER” is the dumbest effing name.

      • Meier

        Isn’t that Nestle’s cocoa powder?

      • Karate Pants

        Ah, that’s where I’ve heard it before! And sadly, even with all of the chemicals and preservatives, the content of that powder is better than Netflix’s content.

  • S.

    Separate web sites??? This is the dumbest business decision I have heard of all year.

    • KWo

      Agreed!

  • Bruce Kasanoff

    Netflix considering another change, from Qwikster to Trickster. Google it.

  • Huh?

    I’m guessing in about a year, Qwikster will magically vanish and there will be no DVD service at all….and it’s queues not cues.

    • Lee Stetson

      That’s what I thought when I saw this too…they are going to phase out the DVDs completely and want to separate the services so Netflix isn’t the company seen to be failing? Dumb…

    • Laurel

      I think you’re right Lee.
      Netflix is trying to completely phase out DVD rental .
      They want to move to a streaming only business.
      And thousands of employees will lose there jobs.
      The profit margins are higher if they lose the DVD business all together.
      Less employees ,less overhead more money for the CEO.
      It’s not speculation .
      I read an article six months ago that said Neflix was planning on phasing out DVD rentals completely .
      Qwikster is the first step in the process.

  • Lara

    I left Netflix last month to join blockbuster whose prices have remained steady. There is no instant streaming unless you pAy more but the DVD and video game rentals are great. I feel like Netflix put all the movie rental companies out of business and now that they are raising rates there are no more local places to go to rent a movie besides redbox and they are usually out of the new movies. I feel that Netflix is struggling and they should have just left things the way they were but they tried to change too much and it has hurt them… Quickster is a dumb idea jut keep it called Netflix

    • Hey, Reed Hastings!

      I got your streaming right here, ya dumbass — golden streaming

      • Strepsi

        That was really immature… and totally made me LOL

  • Jennifer

    I was actually glad about the service split since I never stream movies and therefore getting the dvds would cost me a good bit less than previously. Not happy about now having to go to an entirely different site, though. They should’ve just left it all at Netflix and weathered the brief storm; it would’ve passed soon enough.

  • MaxxAmmo

    Reminds me of how a certain blue & yellow franchise came into town and destroyed every Mom & Pop video store rental then began to raid our pockets for every nickel & dime they thought we’d pay for crappy, arrogant service.
    Looks like Netflix doesn’t think (or doesn’t care) that the streaming and the disk based customer are the same person. Sure looks like they have decided the house will support and subscribe to one service and not the other.
    I’ve had nothing but outages, apologies and partial refunds for the poor digital service thru my PS3 now they want me to pay more? No thanks! How about rewarding customer loyalty? How about package deals for customers who get ‘X’ number of disks +Blu-ray they can also have streaming free as a bonus. Make too much sense Reed?

    • Hastings Pudding

      We were loyal Netflix customers for many years, and encouraged many people to join, and now they’ve managed to alienate me in a way that’s not fixable by a name change. I am happy to see people finally standing up and saying “no, thanks. We’d rather not be screwed and treated badly and have to pay more for the experience each month”. It bodes well for consumers, and hopefully other companies will wake up and realize the customer service free ride won’t last forever.

  • DJ

    The video game addition is nice, but I only have a PS2, and cannot benefit from it. So, bottom line is the DVD service has been taken away, as I am not about to get involved with ‘Qwickster’ or whatever it is. Guess I can save $3 a month.

    • Esox

      Dontcha hate how those of us content w/PS2 are being phased out? Buy a PS3 or no more new games for you! Got news for ya, I’m finding a whole lot of used PS2 games at $5 a piece that are keeping me happy.

      • Esox

        Don’t push us into new technology! We’ll make the change when we’re ready, not you!!!!

    • Jay

      Wow, what is this 1995…?

      • Esox

        Yes. I prefer to keep my technology until it no longer works. Trading up when the new thing comes out is a wast of money.

  • loligirl

    Yeah, I’m quite irritated at the splitting of websites after sticking with it through the price change. Why? And I’m assuming this will make it much more difficult to establish when things in my DVD queue become available for streaming since they will no longer be linked and netflix is horrible at updating their new to streaming. I get having separation between services…on the company’s side, but why are we the consumers being hassled for wanting both services? Don’t they make more $ off of me when I have both? Lame.

  • DJ

    And honetly, the DVDs usually sit on my coffee table for a week or two before I get around to them anyway, and I got 85 movies in my Instant Queue as it is. Maybe they’re doing me a favor?

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