Oops! Looks Like Netflix Could Use Some Relationship Advice

Netflix is having some serious communication issues with its users and in every attempt to fix the problem, it seems like they only succeed in making things worse.

Netflix is having some serious communication issues with its users and in every attempt to fix the problem, it seems like they only succeed in making things worse.  Looks like Netflix could use some relationship advice.

It all started back in July when Netflix announced that they’d be hiking their prices, while also losing their important partnership with Starz, successfully pissing off subscribers everywhere that felt that the video streaming and DVD-by-mail service was giving them less for more.  Tons of subscribers threatened to cancel their memberships and many actually did.  In fact, the price hike paired with the Starz news resulted in a huge expected loss of 1 million subscribers, causing Netflix stock prices to dive nearly 19 percent last week.  That’s ‘Oops’ number one.

Over the weekend Netflix started messing up even more.  It started when streaming titles mysteriously disappeared from Netflix streaming users’ instant queues.  The titles in question were removed because they were no longer available for streaming, but they gave no explanation for their sudden disappearance.  That’s where the apologies began.  On Saturday, Brent posted the first apology to the Netflix blog: “Oops,” he said. “I messed up. We didn’t really remove any titles from the instant Queue, but I didn’t explain what we did, so it looks like some titles are gone.”  Here’s what really happened:

“We stopped showing titles that were at one point available for streaming.  We did not delete those titles; we merely stopped showing them on the instant Queue page until we know exactly when they’ll again be there to watch instantly.”

Apology received.  Crises averted.  Right?  Wrong.  Just a day later, Netflix CEO and Co-Founder Reed Hastings offered an “I messed up” apology of his own.  This time, regarding the price hikes from back in June.  “I messed up,” Hastings wrote.  “I owe everyone an explanation.  It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes.  This was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.”

As you can see in the video above, and can read about on the Netflix blog, Netflix has officially split their service in two—Netflix will stay on as a streaming only service and their DVD-by-mail service will become Qwikster.  Qwikster will have the same iconic red envelopes (just with a different logo), and will be the same service (with the addition of Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii video games as an additional charge).

Good idea?  In theory, maybe.  And Qwikster and Netflix shouldn’t have a problem when it comes to attracting new customers.  But what about their current subscribers—you know, the ones that they already pissed off with their price hike back in July?  Now these users not only still have to pay more, but they also will have to subscribe to two separate services and deal with two separate queues.

Honestly, what the heck Netflix?  You’re digging your own grave here.  In a relationship, when you mess up and apologize you have to be genuine and actually try to make positive change if you want that relationship to last.  You can’t “sincerely apologize” for hurting your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/partner/friend but then continue to do exactly what you did to hurt them in the first place and, in fact, make negative changes to make the situation even worse for them.  This is exactly what Netflix has been doing to its subscribers.

So how are Netflixers taking to the new changes?  Let’s just say that the 2,437 dislikes to 476 likes on the apology video speak for themselves.  What’s your take on the new Netflix-Qwikster split?  Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.

Publish date: September 20, 2011 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/netflix-qwikster/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT