Monday, October 10, 2011

Netflix Nixes Qwikster - Is Reed Hastings Next?

Today, Netflix customers received an email recanting CEO Reed Hastings' announcement that they would split DVD and streaming products into two separate brands: Netflix and Qwikster. According to the email, "...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."

My first instinct was to write a tongue-in-cheek follow up to my original post about the Netflix/Qwikster split, implying Reed was taking my advice. But then it struck me. While the original email and blog post announcing the change came directly from Mr. Hastings. This email is signed, mysteriously, "The Netflix Team."

Does this mean Reed's locked himself up in his ivory tower, refusing to eat humble pie? Or could it mean something more ominous for him? Could he be on his way out, for this mistake? I wouldn't be surprised. Netflix has lost a lot of customer trust in the last year, and as CEO, Reed Hastings is the appropriate guy to take the fall. I would have expected the "We're sorry, we were wrong" messaging to come directly from him, since he's already in the habit of apologizing. The fact that it doesn't makes me think they're setting him up for a bigger fall... say, from the heights of his corner office to the pool of the unemployed below.

It would be a smart PR move, I say. What do you think? Is Hastings to blame? Would his ousting restore some customer trust?


Brendan Dwyer said...

I say he's packing his office as we speak. I also think I'm all the more interested in switching to Dish/Blockbuster. Netflix seems to be in a tailspin.

Anthony said...

Whether deserving or not, somebody needs to take the fall and it looks like him..

There were so many better ways to have done this.

Maddie Ruud said...

I agree, Anthony. I don't necessarily object to having two different services, but as I said in my post on the Netflix/Qwikster divide, they both needed to be complete products to market them separately. And making them two separate brands was just nutty.