What the heck is going on at Netflix? Another week begins, and once again I’m compelled to write a piece about Netflix’ sinking ship.
Reversing course from their public apology and declaration to rename their DVD-by-mail service Qwikster, Netflix announced today that they’re not going to make the name change, and will stick with just Netflix for both the DVD and streaming services. “This means no change: one website, one account, one password...in other words, no Qwikster”, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, wrote on the site’s blog. He wrote that it was clear that for many members having two websites to go to would make life more difficult, and that prompted the change in the gameplan, making the Qwikster name the easiest punchline for a joke in quite some time.
In the words of the great Brian Fantana, Netflix needs to take it easy there, Champ, and stop talking for awhile. Netflix has made so many public announcements in the last three months that each time they make one now, they seem to bury themselves even further in their own mess. Introducing Qwikster was part of a big apology for the way that they jacked up their prices a month ago while alienating their customers. Now that Qwikster is gone, the apology feels like it’s gone to the wayside as well. Saturday Night Live parodied Netflix a week ago, which by itself is probably more of an honor than an insult. It takes a certain stature to get skewered on that big of a stage. But within the sketch, SNL didn’t really insult the Netflix service as much as Hastings’ penchant for more and more Public Announcements that just hurt the company. The announcement today makes that sketch look even more prescient.
In order to really turn things around, Hastings and his team needs to pipe down for awhile. Get more licenses for content, improve the website, and leave us alone. Not a single Netflix subscriber cares about Netflix as an entity. They just care about what they’re watching while they use Netflix as a middle man. It’s time to let the products speak for themselves. Netflix made a big deal out of buying the rights to The Walking Dead last week. If they don’t stop making all of this noise, they’ll become just that.