If you're anything like me (and who's to say you're not) you love a good cup of Joe, Sterling Archer and bacon-wrapped anything. You probably also got really, REALLY mad when Netflix announced their pricing and plan changes
(effectively splitting the DVD and streaming business and charging for both) back in July.
While I am not quick to anger, this really ground my gears... evidently, I was not alone.
In the wee hours of this morning, Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix, sent an e-mail out to all Netflix users that started with the following:
I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.
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.
The e-mail goes on to explain Netflix's shifting business model as well as some new packages that will definitely interest gamers. Feel free to read the full message on their blog
, but here are the highlights in bullet point form:
* Netflix was, evidently, scared of alienating their existing DVD base by focusing on streaming movies over the internet. Comparing themselves to AOL and Borders, they were worried about not being great at something new (streaming video, in Netflix's case) because they were desperate to hang on to their original (DVD) clients.
* Hastings explains that Netflix tries to have their actions speak louder than words, thus the explanations for their new model weren't as effectively communicated as they could have been. Hastings apologized (rather profusely) for not being more involved in the announcement and explanation of their new model.
* The second-biggest news to come from this message is that Netflix is splitting up their DVD and their streaming services into two, different names. Streaming services will remain "Netflix" while the DVDs-by-mail service will be renamed "Qwikster".
* The biggest news (for gamers) is that this new Qwikster will begin offering a video game upgrade option that will include Xbox 360 games. At this time, the pricing of this plan (and options) have not been announced.
* Qwikster and Netflix will now have separate websites (Qwikster.com and Netflix.com respectively) to make browsing and adding videos/games to your queue easier. These sites will, unfortunately, NOT be integrated together.
* There are NO FURTHER pricing changes (beyond the ones that were announced in July).
* Subscribers to the Netflix DVD plan who want to keep their plans won't need to change anything as their membership will automatically switch over to the new Qwikster service.
* The message ends with a few paragraphs that I felt really needed to be quoted verbatim:
Some members will likely feel that we shouldn’t split the businesses, and that we shouldn’t rename our DVD by mail service. Our view is with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail. It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. Netflix will offer the best streaming service for TV shows and movies, hopefully on a global basis. The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.
I want to acknowledge and thank our many members that stuck with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.
Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.
Again, these are just the bullet points of this new message, plan and structure. I would HIGHLY suggest you read the full message for the full details.
This, in this writer's opinion, is probably going to be one of the biggest news items of the day and, with that in mind, what do you think?