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Posts Tagged ‘Qwikster’

Netflix Finally Does Something Right

Responding to widespread anger about spinning off its DVD business, Netflix has dumped Qwikster before it was even out of the gate. Based on the news, The New York Times says Netflix’s stock price has moved in a positive direction and Wired has published the image at left. Huzzah!

Subscribers came out in full force when the plan to split the DVD and streaming service was announced just a few weeks ago, with many dropping the service. A blog post (that has comments calling for CEO Reed Hastings’s ouster) has posted and subscribers got an email with the new plan.

“Dear Tonya,” the email reads, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.” Price changes will stay the same, but streaming selection will improve, the company says.

The Wall Street Journal calls it Netflix’s “New Coke” moment. And while it doesn’t do a company any good to rile up its customers, listening to them and dumping a bad idea is a smart step.

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Lack of Planning, Bad Naming Skills Hurting Netflix


Parody video via TechCrunch

Let’s start by saying that the uproar over Netflix is gargantuan and crazy. It’s a movie service. You’re at home futzing around on a Sunday afternoon and you say to yourself, “Why don’t I pop Wordplay in the DVD machine and eat some Cheez Doodles?” (I will be a Qwikster customer.)  This is happening in the world. And there are 23, 525 comments on CEO Hastings’ blog post. Let’s maintain perspective, yeah?

But, from a PR point of view, this has turned into tidal wave of nastiness for Netflix largely because even with the CEO’s direct communication, the comms plan wasn’t fully worked out. There actually seems to have been minimal thought put into the comms plan.

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Netflix CEO Apologizes, Introduces Qwikster in Customer Email

If you’re a Netflix customer, your inbox this morning contained an email from Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, that opens with, “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.”

With that, Hastings discusses the need for Netflix to move into streaming, his business fears, and the differing cost structures for a DVD business and a movie streaming business that made the cost increases that angered customers necessary. He also introduces “Qwikster,” the new DVD service that will have its own website and logo when it launches in a few weeks, splitting the company into two businesses.

Netflix has had a hard go of it since it sprung its price increases on consumers. Subscribers have fled and the stock has taken a beating.

But, this is exactly what PR experts advise a company in trouble to do; come out and speak directly to consumers, let them know their feedback has been heard, and respond. However, in PR as in life, there are no guarantees. People are in the comments on the company’s blog post saying this isn’t a real apology (he doesn’t apologize for jacking up prices) and continue to voice their complaints. Not to mention the criticisms of the new name for the DVD business. Qwikster?!

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