Only three weeks after Netflix announced it was spinning off its DVD rental business as Qwikster, the company has reversed course and plans to keep its rental and online streaming businesses together.
Netflix announced on September 19 that it planned to split its by mail DVD rental service from its online video streaming service, with plans to make the change within a few weeks. Splitting the services meant customers would have to manage two independent movie queues, although they would be able to add Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games to their by-mail lists.
Netflix on Qwikster: Never mind
Netflix received an overwhelmingly negative response to the announcement, and it looks like the company listened.
“It is clear that 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,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. “This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.”
Netflix recently raised its monthly rates and split out the cost for DVD rentals from streaming. The change, company executives said, better reflected consumer interests because they could choose to receive only DVDs by mail, only online streaming, or both.
That change wasn’t received well, either, and led to many people dropping DVD rentals completely and reducing the income Netflix was bringing in.
Mr. Hastings had a comment on that, too. “While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes,” he said.
While Qwikster was announced, it never actually launched. The Qwikster Web site, however, did roll out, although it now redirects to the Netflix Web site.