Netflix Spins Off 'Qwikster,' CEO Admits 'I Messed Up'

Reed Hastings explains recent price hike, but many still not happy
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2011 6:04 AM CDT
Updated Sep 19, 2011 7:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – Netflix’s recent price hike caused rampant backlash, cost the movie rental service one million subscribers, and sent the company’s stock tumbling. Last night, CEO Reed Hastings admitted in a blog post, “I messed up.” But he’s not offering a reversal on the price hike, simply an explanation that, he admits, should have come earlier: Netflix is spinning off its classic DVD-by-mail service; it'll now be a distinct entity known as Qwikster, while Netflix itself will become streaming-only. The Wall Street Journal notes that while Qwikster will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Netflix, the two websites (including movie queues and ratings and account information) will not be integrated.

Needless to say, already-dissatisfied customers don’t appear to feel too much better about the whole prospect. (Take a quick look at the comments under the blog post if you don’t believe us.) Some reactions:

  • “It's yet another example of failing at the speed of light,” writes Austin Carr in Fast Company. “The faster Netflix moves to innovate, the more bumps it hits on the way.”
  • “Netflix is a company in crisis,” writes Seth Abramovitch at Gawker, but this “fix … will likely please no one. … 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?”
  • In New York, Caroline Bankoff asks, “Is everyone happy now? Anyone?”
(One big, hilarious oops: Netflix doesn't control @Qwikster.)

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