Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Netflix to Customers: Please Pay Us More for Inferior Service

Seriously, why are they doing this to themselves?


Lut and I use both the DVD and streaming services for Netflix.  The de-bundling and accompanying price hike annoyed me, but it's still cheaper than cable or buying/renting DVDs (which is generally more expensive for a much worse selection everywhere else.


So I'd resigned myself to continuing to pay for both.


... and now they want to make the service harder to use.


Right now, let's say I want to watch "Castle".  I go to Netflix's site, log in, search for Castle, and see that seasons 1&2 aren't available on Instant Watch, so I add them to my DVD queue.  Then I search for "Sons of Anarchy", see that it's available for both, and add it to my instant queue and watch an episode. 


Under the new 'let's make them into totally different services' plan, I go to Netflix, login, search for Castle, see it's not there, go to Qwikster, login, search for Castle, add it to the queue, go back to Netflix, search for the next thing, etc.


Browsing will also be more annoying -- DVD selection has always been larger than Instant Watch, so I'm supposed to go to Qwikster to browse, then back to Netflix to search for whatever I found on Qwikster and see if it's on Netflix?  Except that IIRC, Netflix is planning for Instant Watch to have its own exclusive content, so it'll be more like 'browse both sites but 95% of content on Netflix will be identical to Qwikster.'


Granted, it's not walking uphill both ways in the snow, but as far as I can tell Netflix is spending a fortune rebranding Qwikster and separating the websites, for the privilege of making the customer experience identical or worse in every respect.


Why would they do this?  I read the whole letter and I do not understand. The only way this would make sense is if  they'd decided they couldn't make money on the DVD business at any price point, but that they're too scared of the backlash to shut it down outright.  Are they hoping that the Qwikster service will die and they can use its death as leverage to get more content for Netflix/Instant Watch?  I just can't figure out why anyone would go to so much trouble and expense to deliver an inferior version of their existing service.  x.x


Edit: I was reading the WSJ's comments section, and several people speculated that Netflix plans to sell their DVD unit to some other company. So spinning off Qwikster would be prepatory to that.  Which does make some sense from a business perspective, and I guess having it as a separate company would make it easier to market?  It still seems like they're driving customers away at a time when they'd want to make the business look attractive to a corporate buyer, though. Maybe Blockbuster or whomever won't touch it while it's still integrated, feeling that they need to see the hit a segregated site takes first.

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