We saw the warning signs just a couple months ago. Netflix decided to stick it to their most loyal customers and raise prices on their two services: streaming movies and DVDs by mail.
I have been a subscriber to Netflix for more than four years. My family and I love their service. In fact, we currently have two plans (part of the family is living in Colorado and the other in Alaska). We have gladly paid the 10 bucks that is withdrawn from our credit card every month.
We also travel frequently between the two states and use the streaming service to watch movies on our iPhones and iPads away from home and on the airplane.
But as I said, the beginning of the end started a couple months ago when the Netflix brass thought that they needed to raise the price to almost 19 dollars for customers that were receiving both streaming and the DVD option. Customers just like me.
There was a huge backlash on social media and over a million of people went so far as to cancel their accounts. We were not one of them. We continued to fill up our queue with movies and receive two of them per month like clock-work in just two business days, even up in here Alaska.
I awoke this morning to an email from Reed Hastings the CEO of the little red envelopes. It started off as what I thought would be a sincere apology: “ I messed up.” Hastings said. “I owe everyone an explanation.”
Then came the bombshell…
Hastings said that Netflix could not remain successful in the online streaming end AND the DVD end if something wasn’t fixed.
Reed continued to try to apologize to hard working guys like me that have forked over several hundred bucks over the past few years to his service.”In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based on past success. But now I see that given the huge changes we have recently been making, I should have personally give a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do,” said Reed.
We all know what is up, Reed. Its about the bottom line. I know how it works. I am a small business owner too. But you know what I don’t screw my most loyal customers so I can have a better executive compensation plan for the brass.
Sure you gave us a little forewarning of the price increase. Till the beginning of September to be exact. I am not crying over a couple bucks. To the contrary. I still think the movie service is a great deal. Think about it. What costs twenty bucks these days? Two people at dinner at McDonalds will blow a Jackson and you are lucky to buy ONE ticket at the movie-plex.
But not 19 days later you are at it again! Hastings you have gone a little too far. Today you announce that the two services will split in a few weeks. The streaming content will remain Netflix but the DVD by mail service will be called Qwickster and will be become part of a separate brand.
What does Qwickster mean to you? It means that you will have to go to a separate website to order your DVDs and customers will have two entries on their credit card statement. Hastings laments that the service will be “exactly” the same but with a new name.
He also says that there will be a new video game rental option through Qwikster and substantially more streaming content in the coming months.
We all know that streaming content is the wave of the future. I understand that. But what about people, like me that don’t have a fast enough Internet connection at home or people that are on the already outrageously expensive data plans on their smart phones. I use my iPhone and iPad for almost everything and I am on the 4 GB plan and I use it to capacity every month and that is with very little streaming of video.
Wait there’s more.
If you are a subscriber to Netflix you know that one of the best features is the rating system we all took part in for movies that we have watched in the past. By rating the movies you have watched Netflix would “suggest” movies based on your preferences. Well as part of the Qwickster switch none of this will follow you.
I had well over 500 movie ratings on my account. Hey, Reed, thanks a lot for all that wasted time. It’s not your fault. I know. You are only doing your job. What will my default suggestions be now? Little Mermaid? Dune? The Deep? Boy, I can’t wait!
Reed also said in his personal email to me that the prices will remain the same with the new services. In fact he said, and I quote, “We’re done with that.”
We’ll see. I am putting my money on a price change before the beginning the of the year.
But you know what,I will stick with the service for now. I still like the concept and like I said, it is still one heck of a deal. But I don’t know how long it will last if they continue to alienate it’s most loyal fan base with moves like this.
I think Reed and the powers that be need to wake up and smell the coffee. Losing one million subscribers over your last debacle equalled what? A bulls**t email and a shake up of your business in my inbox this morning.
Time will tell.
Will you remain a subscriber of Netflix/Qwikster?