Netflix's Qwikster retreat makes sense, but looks skittish

Summary:That was Qwik. Netflix kills its Qwikster brain fart before it even launches. The company looks jumpy amid increasing competition.

Netflix said that it separate its DVD-by-mail business dubbed Qwikster after all.

In a short blog post, 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.

Granted, Qwikster wasn't the best idea. The launch of Qwikster looked so rushed that Netflix didn't even procure a Twitter account for it. The general idea was that Netflix would separate its DVD and streaming movies account. The move sounded OK in theory since DVD and streaming services are already separate services in the pricing model, but Qwikster was called Qwikstupid within hours.

Netflix retreated because "we value our members." Translation: Netflix didn't want to lose more subscribers.

Now let's take a step back and survey the situation.

  • Netflix has seen subscriber growth slow over its pricing model.
  • The launch of Qwikster was a major screwup.
  • And now Netflix's brand is tarnished just as Amazon's streaming service will be delivered with every Kindle Fire.

If Netflix looks a bit jumpy that's because it should be. The stakes are high for Netflix, which increasingly looks like it's amateur hour after years where it could do little wrong. The company has to fend off Amazon, land streaming content deals and deal with Echostar, which is hellbent on bringing Blockbuster back to its glory days.


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    Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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