Netflix cancels Qwikster spinoff
What that means is the service, called Qwikster, is dead, at least for now, barely three weeks after managers disclosed their intentions. It also means Netflix customers get something akin to their old service back, the one that enabled them to go to one site to watch videos streamed over the Web as well as order DVDs for home delivery. Netflix, however, didn’t back down on price; access to movies streamed over the Internet as well as DVD rentals will still cost $16 per month.
Last month, Hastings riled already frustrated subscribers by telling them that Netflix was dedicating itself only to streaming. If they wanted to rent discs they would have to go to Qwikster, which would require a visit to a new Web site as well as a new account, password, and even an extra monthly bill. Critics said Netflix was doing the unthinkable: making a successful, simple service more complicated. Michael Pachter, an analyst who has covered Netflix for years, called the move the “dumbest” he’s seen any company make in a long time.
Apparently, Netflix got the message.
The message Netflix still hasn’t gotten is that the price increase was much too large for many subscribers to accept, especially with the cancellation of all Showtime content following right behind the increase. Recent moves suggest that the company is flailing and trying to find some traction by any means possible. I don’t think this move will help much. The damage is already done.