A couple months ago, the household name, Netflix, brought household outrage by eliminating their popular DVD/Streaming package and replacing it with the option to purchase two separate packages at a large price hike. Today, it seems that the wisdom “better late than never” might not apply to the apology email that Netflix sent out to its subscribers and posted on its blog. If the comments on the blog post are any indication, Netflix is in for another round of abuse.
The Apology that was sent out on behalf of CEO Reed Hastings started out feeling very heart-felt, opening with “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” Hastings follows this with his sincere apology for the way Netflix rolled out the price/package changes:
It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.
After the brief apology, the email goes on to point out that the pricing and package change was part of a much bigger move to turn the DVD side of Netflix into a completely separate company, complete with separate charges on your card if you have both services. The new company, Qwikster, will handle all the physical discs with Netflix freed up to focus on streaming. This leaves me with an obvious question…
What Are You Doing, Netflix?
As a subscriber only to the streaming service, neither the previous nor the current changes leave me with the feelings of betrayal others seem to have experienced, but as a business owner, I’m scratching my head. Netflix built a wonderful monopoly on the DVD-by-mail business and even began a decent transition into streaming. Despite kiosk offerings from RedBox and Blockbuster, Netflix still had the largest selection with a solid customer base. The pricing and package changes damaged customer loyalty, but this feels like Netflix is positioning themselves to move out of the DVD-by-mail arena completely.
At Least There’s Games By Mail Now
One thing I felt positive about in this announcement is that
Netflix Qwikster will be offering games by mail as well. Though I’ve honestly never gotten serious enough about the idea of games by mail to sign up for a competitor like Game Fly, I love the idea. Sadly, the thought that I can’t do it through Netflix leaves me in the “maybe some day” area. Frankly, I’ve always had small nervous breakdowns when a disc from Netflix or RedBox looks like someone tried to watch it by scratching it up with a set of keys, so maybe this saves me from a mid-game mental meltdown anyway. You disc-scratchers know who you are.
The Streaming-Only Upside
Because I only subscribe to the streaming service at home, this change may actually present a large benefit to me. I often wonder when Netflix will bring the streaming library up to speed. They have millions of discs for mailing out, but far too often do I find myself searching for something only to find it unavailable for instant watching. I’m crossing my fingers that we’re headed for a larger Instant Watch selection, but I’m not holding my breath.