A couple months ago, Netflix changed its pricing structure. (WAKE UP! DON’T FALL ASLEEP YET, THE POST HAS JUST STARTED!) Instead of a flat-rate for all of its services, customers would now pay different subscription rates depending on if they used the DVD mail service, the streaming service, or both. Naturally, people were outraged. I don’t mean “naturally” because this is a reasonable thing to be outraged about, it’s not. Over the entire course of history of the world as we know it, prices of things change suddenly and without warning when the people who get our money feel like they would like more of it, and there is almost never a misguided letter from the CEO explaining the thinking behind this shift. (Although the thinking is usually pretty clear, isn’t it? “We think give us more money.” The end.) ANYWAY, I say “naturally” people were outraged because that is like soooo people. Honestly it is too exhausting to even keep up with what everyone’s so mad about anymore. But, so, this weekend, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, posted an open letter on his blog (which is usually just pictures of kittens with broken legs wearing casts so you know this is IMPORTANT) addressing the price changes and introducing new changes and it’s like I don’t even know who Netflix IS anymore. Example:
So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”.
We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.
What? I mean, I went to college. I think I get it. But this is a very weird way to apologize to customers for your previous lack of clarity and communication. (Over the course of this whole thing, Netflix lost almost a million subscribers and their stock went down 19 percent but I’m sure this blog post cleared it all up and it’s back to business as usual.) “We have heard your complaints over our price changes and that is why in response we are going to become two separate companies.” I’m not saying they shouldn’t do that. Do it! Who cares? Fuck it! NO RULES! I’m just saying it’s a weird announcement to make couched in a supposed apology and attempt to clarify the situation. (OK, I’m going to write a little bit more, but if you haven’t already you should DEFINITELY go to sleep now.) More Reed Thoughts Backslash Blog Dot Doc:
For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new envelope is still that distinctive red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be the same for many of you. We’ll also return to marketing our DVD by mail service, with its amazing selection, now with the Qwikster brand.
Ooooh, you guyyyyyys! Great news: they will return to marketing their DVD by mail service! So dope. Swagger on a hundred thousand trillion, or whatever. This is literally why most companies do not allow their CEOs to talk to actual human beings. Because it always comes out WEIRD. Are we really supposed to believe that because Reed Hastings himself is going to take some time acclimating himself to the new Qwikster logo (which, that name, MORE LIKE UGHSTER!) that somehow he gets us? I think that’s what this is supposed to be! We are all in this together, man. This incredible and meaningful corporate restructuring at the place where I rent movies sometimes. (Can you imagine thinking this much about Blockbuster video? Can you imagine thinking this much about Netflix?! Just kidding. No one is reading this. Too asleep/dead.)
Anyway, the comments on the blog are pretty great. It’s mostly very legitimate and well-expressed customer concerns about how this change will affect them (long story made short: it won’t! Read a book! Take a nap!) with panicked replies from Reed himself and then strange inter-customer sniping such as:
OUCH! That IS why you are only an xray repair tech, Jason Teasdale, you piece of shit! Man, the Internet is just THE WORST PLACE ON EARTH. I wish I could have the blog posts I want to read printed out and mailed to me. (This would not be one of them.) The company would be called Blogflix and everyone would fucking hate it.
In conclusion, something something Netflix video games Qwikster two websites people are monsters Reed Hastings goatee who cares.