Netflix + Quikster = WTF?

Netflix appears to let 12-year-old nephew run company

I’m a longtime devoted fan of Netflix.  So back in March when they raised their prices I didn’t really bat an eye.  Come on – we get umpteen hours of programming a week from them, at our convenience, and they haven’t raised their prices much in all the years we’ve subscribed (despite adding streaming services and huge numbers of available titles).  So I figured it was no big deal.

Apparently I was the only one who felt that way.  From the whining heard around the internet you’d have thought Netflix had just snatched the last piece of stale bread from the mouths of the world’s children.  And Netflix stock began to fall.  Really?  REALLY?  This is a luxury service.  Those of us who can afford it are lucky and privileged.  If you’re spending your last $8 a month on Netflix, you need to refocus.  When’s the last time your cable, cell phone or power company asked your permission to raise their prices?  To the best of my recollection that would be…never.  I figured the howling would die down as people realized what pampered babies they were being and that would be the end of it.

But no.  A few months after stocks started plunging Netflix apparently placed its Wayward Nephew in charge.  How else to possible explain the weird, rambling apology about raising prices?  And the absolutely ridiculous announcement that the company would be splitting its DVD and streaming services into 2 companies – Netflix and the inexplicably named “Quikster”?  Ideas that dumb don’t come from the heads of adults all that often, especially adults who run huge, successful companies.  That’s why my Wayward Nephew theory is the only one that makes any sense.

Think about it.  You’re a huge company.  You have competition, but in order to continue to expand and remain dominant you need to increase revenue and do some price adjusting for your services.  So you do exactly that.  You’re polite and you still offer a variety of price points at which people can order your services, but you stop giving Instant Streaming away for free.  Fair enough.

You customers set about wailing as if they were being waterboarded.  You, rightly, ignore them.  Stocks take a hit.  Not entirely unexpected, but maybe more than you had hoped.  So what do you do to rebound?  Roll back the price increases?  No, that just puts you back where you started, and with lower stock prices.  You need someone who can think outside the box and works cheap.  Wayward Nephew to the rescue!  You need a vacation and your sister needs something to keep her delinquent child busy.

Because only the brain of a child would imagine that making the service more complicated, less convenient and just plain weirder would turn things around.  Children also like to offer sincere apologies for actions they have no intention of altering.  And what adult could possibly imagine that the name “Quikster” would succeed at any level, in any business, anywhere in the virtual universe?  Perhaps Nephew’s only other options were “Robovideo” and “Moviesaurus Rex”.

Last week it looks like Uncle Netflix finally came home from his dude ranch hiatus and took back the reigns.  There will be no Quikster.  The price hikes will stay put.  There will be acknowledgement of customer dissatisfaction but without groveling or psychotic business model changes.  Netflix will go back to doing what it’s always done – providing DVD and streamed content with price points for almost everyone.  The whiners will move on to something else and stocks will go back up as content continues to expand.  Ahhh, it’s good to have my Netflix back.

Thank you, Mr. Netflix, for taking back your company.  I know you love Wayward Nephew, but he was freaking the rest of us out.

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