Monday, September 19, 2011

Death to Qwikster, Long Live Netflix...But What About Us?

Currently happening, on the internet, is a fascinating illustration of what it means to run a many-million dollar company in the blog/facebook/twitter era. There was never a time for this sort of public accountability to your customers, right?

In 2006 I speculated on how Netflix returned DVDs on a different schedule depending on the neighborhood you live in. My informal test results proved inconclusive. This was also before their streaming service became so integral (and the bandwidth/data streaming became more efficient). But while I was posting on my blog, I couldn't post comments on the company blog. Or join a chorus of tweets in pummeling the CEO Reed Hastings with hashtags.

I don't watch enough TV, and of late have been watching movies in binges, which is to say I'm not especially finicky about my streaming or DVD service. I furrowed my brow along with everyone else over the recent price changes (more reactions here, and Wall Street is dithering on the stock) but it's interesting to see how the crew of friends complaining at the bar about their DVD prices can now bring that HEATED DEBATE to the doorstep of the company (along with toilet paper and flaming bags of poo).

The content streaming business itself is in an interesting state of flux, what with competition from big dogs like Apple and Amazon, and smaller dogs like Roku and Redbox, along with needing to figure out content deals with studios and distributors. Netflix started as an underdog, with the simple conceit of making the Blockbuster model more convenient (no need to leave your house!). Now it's a much more complicated business. But one strike against public transparency for a company is the public conversation does not seem focused on unraveling the tangled threads of the business, teasing out the best solutions, and encouraging implementation. Rather it's mostly all reflexive mocking the name change to Qwikster and venting Monday rage about the fact that one now has to click on extra links to get a DVD sent to one's house (fair enough, i don't want extra links to click either.).

None of this has been a good look for Netflix, but the fallout also leaves me a little worried about "us". But anyflix, guess I'll take my mind off it and just watch a movie or something.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails