Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

Summary: Netflix' stock has recently taken some hits, and then, tonight, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, decided to come forth with both a mea culpa and a new name, Qwikster.com. Seriously.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware
21

This is just a quick note with first impressions. A few months ago, Netflix announced it'd be raising the price of DVD rentals and adding a streaming-only service. For customers like me, who enjoy both, it was a very big price increase.

Netflix' stock has recently taken some hits, and then, tonight, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, decided to come forth with both a mea culpa and a new name, Qwikster.com. Seriously.

Apparently, Netflix -- in its ultimate wisdom -- has decided that Netflix shall heretofore be known as a streaming service. You can view whatever movies and TV shows the studios are willing to let you watch, until such time as they decide to pull the programs off of Netflix (my wife is still pissed that the Camelot TV series is off Netflix Instant Play after she watched half the episodes).

See also: Why I hate Netflix and why Americans need to stop hating on Netflix' CEO and lighten up

On the other hand, some of us long-time Netflix users still stubbornly insist on wanting to watch more movies and TV shows than the studios want to allow to be streamed. Since we apparently couldn't be put down by an excessive price increase, the next attempt is to shunt us (shun us?) into a new, old service.

According the Hastings, the Netflix with the little red envelopes that we've all come to know and love is now going to be Qwikster. He says they're going to provide all the same service, but the reality is that someday soon, Netflix (the streaming company) is going to run screaming from Qwikster (the luddite DVD company) as fast as it can.

I certainly respect an entrepreneur for understanding his cost model, but building universal brand recognition is hard. Qwikster, as a brand, doesn't say anything. It's a bad reminder of Napster and Friendster and doesn't have anything, really, to do with movies or videos. Given Hastings' strong branding history, I'm sure he'll make something of it, but I also expect that Qwikster will never be what Netflix was.

I am not sure this is good strategy for Netflix. With the DVD business, Netflix owned assets it actually controlled. With the streaming business, Netflix is at the complete and total mercy of the studios.

Hang in there, Reed, that ride is gonna be a bumpy one.

Qwikster. Seriously?

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

21 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    If you haven't read Reed's press release, let me sum it up for you: the CEO says that Netflix's problem isn't the
    jacked-up prices but being "anti-communicative" -- and they are "solving" this problem by 1) "reassuring" us that they are KEEPING the jacked-up prices instead of lowering them back down, and 2) separating Netflix into two disparate, unrelated entities to make it MORE DIFFICULT to use and making it impossible to coordinate streaming and DVD queues? Talk about "slipping into arrogance" -- CEO Reed must really think that Netflix's customers are stupid!
    dSolice
    • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

      @dSolice Well put!
      There is nothing quite like throwing gasoline on a fire to help put it out.

      Latest Netflix announcement, paraphrased:
      "We're sorry our customers got angry, but we're not sorry for what we did to make them angry. In fact, I'd like to proudly announce we are going to make life even worse for our customers. At Netflix, we're all about maximizing profit at any cost. Besides, who cares what our whiny customers think?"
      BillDem
  • Digging deeper

    I have a 'grandfathered' Netflix legacy account which is no longer available to new subscribers, where you get 2 DVD's per month, which also includes a limited amount of streaming. The way I'm reading this announcement , it appears that plan will no longer be possible to deliver. <br><br>It's all very peculiar. Success in streaming is not a sure thing. Netflix will need to jack up the price to a very high level to obtain the titles they desire. ISP's are implementing data caps which may make customers question if they want to use all of their bandwidth on streaming video.<br><br>This seems like a very high risk strategy. They must be banking on international success.
    SunFire23
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    When Netflix announced the price hike I reconsidered my account and went to just streaming while wondering about the intelligence of Netflix management - now my concerns for their mental well being have increased. I'll stick with Netflix until the studios enforce another outrageous price hike.
    athynz
  • Thank Glub For Our Local Library

    Netflix is committing suicide. Redbox only has current hit movies. Their selection has no depth at all. When Netfix doesn't have a movie in their "streaming" section, I check Redbox, and because of my wife's and my quirky tastes, they rarely have it. Then we check the Manatee County Public Library. If the movie's more than a few months old, they almost always have it -- and by using their online reservation system, I can even pick it up at my closest branch if I'm willing to wait a day or two.<br><br>Score library!
    robin@...
  • was ok with the price increase...

    ... but I'm not with separating the services. One of the commenters on the blog post had it right-- netflix is where I go to watch movies. NOT where I go to stream or rent a dvd. Having the integrated experience was the single most important factor of the service imo.

    Like any consumer, I wasn't happy to hear of a price increase, but I was ok with it-- I wasn't planning to leave or change my service.

    However, splitting up the services is unacceptable-- bye bye netflix.
    jmelnik
    • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

      @jmelnik

      I have to agree. I liked that if I added a DVD/Blu-Ray to my Queue and it became available for stream I could just do that instead. Now since I do like some of the older movies and TV-Series that is available on there I may have to go down to just streaming and use a service like Red-Box for disc rentals of new releases. I think that may be cheaper in the long run as it seems I am borrowing DVDs and Blu-Rays from my parents, siblings, and friends when they purchase/rent them to watch.
      bobiroc
    • They MIGHT be able to fix the separation problem

      If they want to salvage this mess they will have very prominent links on each separate website that will tell you if the DVD you are looking at on Qwikster is available to stream on Netflix, and vice versa. It should be possible to link your accounts. Like a lot of other people I've always thought it was very cool to just choose a movie IN ONE PLACE and see if it was available to stream instead of shipping the disc. And vice versa. If they lose that they lose a huge part - maybe the biggest part - of why Netflix was a great service.
      .
      I have no idea if they will do this account linking though. Clearly their collective heads are up their collective netherbacksides, so an intelligent move like this doesn't seem real likely.
      .
      To me this looks like they want out of the disc by mail business, which for me is the far preferable of the two services since I have a BluRay player and like a much wider variety of movies than is available on streaming. So that's nice to know, that they really want to dump off that really nice service they have. But, hey, whatever, I'm just a stupid customer.
      ArtInvent
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    What I think of when I hear the name "Qwikster" is my grandmother trying to use teen slang from 1985 to talk to a modern 15 year old.

    It's like an onion with multiple levels of fail to be peeled back to discover more delicious fail underneath.
    SlithyTove
    • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

      @SlithyTove

      I think of the company Quixstar which is sometimes referred to as a pyramid scam
      bobiroc
      • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

        @bobiroc
        I think of a rip-off check cashing chain store.

        I also think of a bunch of senile old men sitting around a board room trying to think of a name to cripple the DVD rental service they plan to sell off so that it doesn't compete very well with the profitable streaming service they plan to keep.
        BillDem
  • Oh baby, wait for the advertising from ChannelFlix

    I like mailed DVDs. However I get ads on a mailed DVD and with some I can't fast forward through them. Most of them are the Studios Ads as the DVD will be around for a while. Paid Streaming should not contain ads. Oh baby will it. Netflix is trying to jam your paid-for bandwidth with advertising that is greater than what came packed in the beginning of a DVD. This stupid renaming move should have actually been one of truthfulness by renaming Netflix ChannelFlix and MailFlix.<br><br>When Channelflix subscribers start finding out they are paying for ad delivery you will see a fall off like a shedding lobster.<br><br>I stopped my subscription altogether. I can live without sending a monthly payment to stupid people. I might sell them short.
    2feral
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    I go on record saying that this is an intermediary step in Redbox purchasing Quickster ... and Netflix concentrating on streaming media and players...
    hjenkins1
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    I believe Blockbuster has a novel online business where you can choose to stream movies AND/OR order DVD's for delivery to your home by mail. All on one bill. All on one website. it's ingenious.
    mauryblair@...
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    I too have had enough of the stupid people who operate whatever name you want to call it. I loved having the DVD for older stuff that was no longer profitable to stream, and their library showed it! I just won't pay the ridiculously high price increase!!
    Bye, Bye, Netflix/Qwikster!!!!!
    karl_s@...
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    Who cares? Something better will be out in no time. GP you have to see it NOW? It can't wait until tomorrow? It's a movie! Everything will be ok if you have to wait a few days. Come here do you need a hug.
    Seriously!
    ogoforth
  • Remember &quot;Allegis&quot;?

    I thought not... it's what United Airlines' parent company called itself when it was trying to diversify into a total travel firm. Eventually, it sold the side businesses and resumed "UAL" name they had been using.

    It's almost always a bad idea for established businesses to change their names. It doesn't impress anyone, doesn't fool anyone (if you're trying to walk away from bad press), but does confuse people.
    John L. Ries
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    Just canceled this morning, oh it felt soo good!! iTunes rentals from here, I figure I only watch 3 to 4 movies a month, same amount as Netflix now a days..
    Hasam1991
  • Phishing

    When I received the email, I thought it was so ludicrous that I actually went to the Netflix website to look for the email address to report phishing. And seeing this now, I'm just thinking "Seriously?!". The video game addition interestes me though, since gamefly was horrible, making me wait so long for my next game that it wasn't even worth it and I happily cancelled.
    gersont
  • RE: Apparently, Netflix is renaming itself to Qwikster (seriously, sorta)

    Answer: Blockbuster.
    Clancey70