Netflix Plan to Lure Back Subscribers: Confuse Them with a New Name

Netflix is a company in crisis. Their stock price is plunging and subscribers are abandoning them en masse, in protest of a 60 percent price increase levied against anyone who wants to retain both streaming and mail service.

So Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has come up with a fix that will likely please no one: He's split the two services into two, distinct companies, each with its own name.

Listen closely: From now on, that Criterion Edition Seven Samurai gathering dust on your coffee table for the past three months will need to be sent back to Qwikster, not Netflix. Qwikster is in charge of all your DVD-by-mail needs. Netflix will continue to be your trusted name in streaming of hundreds of TV shows and terrible movies you didn't know existed, plus the occasional decent studio release.

And why Qwikster? From Hastings' letter to subscribers, entitled, "An Explanation and Some Reflections."

We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name "Netflix" for streaming.

Netflix Plan to Lure Back Subscribers: Confuse Them with a New Name

Interesting, though "speed of service" was not the first thing I thought of when I heard the new branding. (Pirated Squishies was, go figure.) If you want to watch subscribers bitch at Hastings in real time, you can read the Facebook responses to his announcement directly beneath it. The CEO does his best to reply to angry users directly. The biggest qualm with the new plan — and it's one you've likely already noticed if you've kept both services — is how difficult Netflix has made it manage your queues (particularly on mobile devices). If a movie isn't available on streaming, and it often isn't, figuring out how to get it mailed to you has become a labyrinthian chore designed to wear you out before you get around to taxing their overtaxed and unprofitable mail order business.

Now, the two autonomous services somewhat clarify that, but add needless steps to what used to be a seamless process. Can't find a movie on Netflix? You'll have to pull up your Qwikster account and order it there. Loved a movie on Qwikster and want to tell your Netflix friends? Tough. You'll have to re-recommend it on Netflix.

The company is doubling-down, quite literally. They say they're doing it to grow, but is offering consumers two companies to boycott instead of just one really going to make things any better? [blog.netflix.com]