Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I think the Netflix spinoff Quikster is an example of taking a business model too far. I understand the instinct to try and separate the business units, especially when one is growing long term (streaming) and the other will fade away (DVDs through the mail). But Qwikster is only going to confuse and tick of current customers. Netflix has done a brilliant job of making itself the go-to destination for entertainment, and users (like me) actually liked the deep catalog of content. I didn't really care if I had to wait a few days for a DVD to arrive if it was the only way of getting it. The wait was a fair tradeoff for the selection. Now I will have to go to a separate website for DVD content- giant pain. I realize businesses have incentives to chase off lower-margin customers, which DVD viewers surely are compared to streamers- but this is perverse. Consumers like the bundle. They don't care that the local cable company has TV, and internet, and phone- but they like one bill and one tech support number. Netflix is going the other way. While Qwikster makes sense on paper, it will hopefully be a disaster in reality. But given the lack of good alternatives, I will experience the Qwikster disaster first hand. At least I'll have much to blog about.