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Netflix Introduces Qwikster - Update, Qwikster Bites the Dust!
It would seem that Netflix has been weathering a little bit of a storm as of late.
The DVD rental by mail, and streaming media company raised its prices a couple of months ago, and announced that they are splitting the two services, and their customers have been ticked off, and extremely vocal about their displeasure.
On the Internet scene, the company's customers have been ranting and raving about how much they feel "disrespected" at how the folks at Netflix had the nerve to up and make such drastic changes without consulting them...
Well, now the video rental giant has finally spoken out about its actions, and they have unveiled a new service...ladies and gentleman, the dawn of the era of Qwikster is now upon us.
**CHECK OUT THE UPDATE VIDEO AT THE END OF THIS HUB ABOUT HOW NETFLIX CANCELS QWIKSTER BEFORE IT GETS OFF THE GROUND***
While I was up at 3:00 a.m. this morning, putting the finishing touches on an eerie hub titled, Scary Unexplained Mysteries: The Dyatlov Pass Incident, I was startled by the familiar ding which signifies that a new piece of email had just hit my inbox.
I have my email set up so that I can see a portion of each new email as a pop-up in the current window I am using to work (Gmail Notifier).
As I was putting together my hub, I red the first sentence of an unknown piece of email which read "I messed up. I owe you an explanation..."
Quite naturally, I was intrigued, so I abandoned my current window and went to read the email. As it turns out, it was a letter from Netflix Co-Founder and CEO, Reed Hastings.
In the email, he apologized for unexpectedly implementing the changes that had angered so many of his customers.
He went on to demonstrate that there had been great companies in the past that had not successfully weathered industry changes, and he pointed out the two cases of AOL and Borders Books (let us all say a silent prayer for our two fallen companies - boy we ditched them like a nerdy friend, didn't we?).
Then he talked about how the two different services of his company, streaming films and DVD rentals by mail, had grown into two separate and distinct entities.
So, What is Qwikster?
The next thing Mr. Hastings did, was put on a sad face and then he proceeded to drop what he obviously perceived to be a bomb. Netflix has changed the name of its core, and most beloved service, DVD rentals by mail, to Qwikster.
Yes ladies and gents, a new word has been added to the lexicon of the current social consciousness, so you'd better start getting aqcuainted with it now or you will be left behind in the world of affordable entertainment and rapidly changing pop culture.
Soon enough, we will be referring to those familiar little red DVD packages as "Qwiksters," as in, "I'm going to drop the Qwikster in the mail honey, did you ever get a chance to watch it or do you want me to hold onto it?" (at least, this is how it is done in my house - busy households usually have multiple TVs with multiple DVD players, and no one ever watches the movie or documentary together as a family unit, c'mon...)
So, What is the Big Deal?
As I read the email, I scratched my head in wonder because I was completely at a loss for why this change required such a somber email.
Furthermore, I was also clueless as to what all of the hoopla was about in the first place.
I have been a Netflix customer since 2001, and I could have cared less that the company raised its rates - the monthly cost is still affordable, and companies raise their rates all of the time - that is what they do to keep up with new offerings and inflation. And then I saw it...
This new change has brought about a total revision of the services, to the point where Netflix.com and Qwikster.com will be two separate and distinct websites!
Those of us who are interactive customers on Netflix.com are left to question "What happens to all of our DVD queues and Film Reviews?"
I suppose we will have to just wait and see, but hopefully the changes will not require us to lose data and start all over again.
Positive Changes at Netflix - Video Games, YAY!
This negative change (two separate websites) seems to be the only one (albeit a significant one) amongst a couple of positive changes.
The company has instituted a video game upgrade, similar to the Blu Ray upgrade option, for all of the gamers out there who have been asking the company to add the option.
Soon we will be able to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games from Netflix, I wonder if a "Gameflix" or "Gamester" division will be in the works?
But at any rate, Gamefly had certainly better step up their "game" because the folks at Netflix are about to bring the heat.
The other positive change is the fact that they will not be increasing their rates. The company claims that they are "done with that."
Remember, these words came from the pen of CEO and Co-Founder, Reed Hastings...so there had better not be any more "I apologize" emails to introduce a price increase anytime in the near future.
In a Nutshell
So folks, there you have it - in nutshell:
- Netflix brand will be devoted to streaming media only
- Qwikster is the new name for their traditional DVD by mail rental service (red envelope service).
- Netflix.com and Qwikster.com will be two separate sites, requiring traditional users (red envelope) to log on to the latter.
- A new upgrade is forthcoming for Wii Games, PS3 Games, and Xbox 360 Game Rentals.
- And CEO, Reed Hastings has promised no new price increases are on the horizon.
6 Hours in and the Web is All Abuzz over Qwikster
Already, just six hours after the release of the email, the Netflix blog is full of complaining customers.
We will just have to see how this pans out in the near future...
My Personal Reaction
This seems kinda redundant, because this whole hub is dedicated to my personal reaction.
But, since it is also partly an update about a major change at a popular company, I thought I'd make sure my readers know exactly where I stand on this issue.
I am not going anywhere, because I am an addicted film fan, and Netflix is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread for me.
Mr. Hastings, please do not let us down, man...