Netflix And Qwikster.. Yay?

A few days ago I received an e-mail from the co-founder of Netflix (as did every other Netflix customer) giving his apology for the price hike and the failure of the “announcement” surrounding it.  The price increase was definitely an annoyance for me, but given that I prefer physical media and also really enjoy having instant streaming as a back-up option on my Xbox 360, I can’t really do much other than take the hit.  I could always just flat out cancel my service entirely but Netflix guessed that quite a few people would bow to their fascist ways and I was one of those people.  Kudos to you though if you cancelled your service.  Netflix has noticed they’ve taken a hit which is why, I suspect, we now have the apology e-mail.

However, contained within the apology e-mail was the announcement that the DVDs-by-mail service was not only going to be an additional charge but a new company called Qwikster.  This means that now you have to visit two separate websites for what was once the same service.  So the apology letter turned out to be a bit of a slap in the face as well.  I, personally, don’t see the benefit of creating a new company identity for something they’ve been doing already but then again I’m not in business.  What I do know is that Netflix has gone out of its way to show that the customer comes last which is ironic because when I first started using Netflix I was actually pleasantly surprised by how customer oriented they were.  Now it seems like they are looking for the greatest profit (I understand they are a business) and seem to be trying to phase out the physical media side of their business.  I think this is a mistake.  I am admittedly a bit biased when it comes to physical vs. digital media but I think the continual movement towards the digital cloud is going to create some consequences that some people may not find favorable.  The U.S. is behind on creating the infrastructure to support our rapidly growing internet/streaming usage and the money to increase and run all of it are going to grow.  It will all hit us in our pocketbooks eventually.  Also, Netflix has yet to make a vast array of streaming options for the Instant Queue.  Yes, they have a lot of movies available to stream but it pales in comparison to your options on dvd/bluray.

I don’t know if what Netflix is doing will pay off for them or not, only time will tell.  The fact that they seem to be angering quite a percentage of their customer base isn’t helping them.  If a new competitor arose to challenge them, I would definitely look into switching.  I’ve already thought that maybe I should just use Hulu Plus and Redbox for my streaming and physical media respectively.  I don’t think I’m quite there yet on switching over but it could happen.  In my opinion, it is bad for business if your customers are thinking of other ways to get a comparable service.  Netflix needs to address their bad customer relations and start respecting the people who allow them to exist.  I think a lot of people would be less angered/inconvenienced if Netflix had gone about this the right way and not made everyone feel like change in the company’s pocket.

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