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Netflix kills Qwikster after less than a month

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amny Photo Credit: Netflix chief Reed Hastings earlier this year/Getty

Well that was fast: Less than a month after Netflix announced Qwikster, the DVD-only arm of its operations, the king of online movie-watching has already killed the much-maligned service.

"There is a difference between moving quickly -- which Netflix has done very well for years -- and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case," said Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings.

 
 

In mid-September Netflix said it would begin to offer two mutually exclusive services: mailing DVDs to customers, and offering online streaming. The overall price to keep both services on unlimited plans was raised to $15.98 monthly, and each on its own cost $7.99.

The move was met with a tsunami of backlash from both the tech press and customers, both of whom said the company was unfairly trying to bilk customers. Netflix said the move was to embrace the shift in customers' behavior and to improve the quality of its streaming service.

"Netflix members love watching instantly, but we've come to recognize there is still a very large continuing demand for DVDs by mail," Andy Rendich, Netflix Chief Service and Operations Officer, said at the time.

"By better reflecting the underlying costs and offering our lowest prices ever for unlimited DVD, we hope to provide a great value to our current and future DVD-by-mail members."

Investors were pleased with the announcement to nix Qwikster, sending stock prices up about 3.5% to $121.27 on Monday afternoon, The Wall Street Journal reported. Still, shares are down almost 40% since the Qwikster debacle began in mid-September.

Qwikster represented a rare faltering for Netflix, which since launching in 2007 has seen immense growth in both customers and profits, with little competition. But as customer dissatisfaction with the company grows -- beginning earlier this year with a price increase -- competitors such as Hulu, Amazon and iTunes have been given a chance to make a grab for a bigger share of the video-streaming market.


Follow reporter Tim Herrera on Twitter: @tim_herrera

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