Monday, 19 September 2011

Netflix fail: Marketing ploy outrages loyal subscribers.

"I slid into arrogance based upon past success" says the CEO discussing how Netflix split its business into DVD-by-mail (Qwikster) and streaming video (Netflix).  They started charging for two subscriptions and "dis-integrated" their customers ability to schedule stuff at a single site. CEO Reed Hastings used his blog to address the dissatisfaction:  ( h/t Hot Air.)
Reed Hastings: CEO and co-founder
Below are just the first four responses from his customers:

Isaacson: I just got your email, and, as a long-time customer, quite frankly found it to be offensive. And perhaps a devastating mis-calculation for your business. (Replies to him: "Yep" "Yes, exactly").
Long: You are doubling the price and removing basic functionality... and proudly displaying a "screw you" attitude. (Reply: "I don't think Mr Hastings cares what we think ")
Vaughan: "When you raise the price on something, you normally think that you would get more or something better". (Replies to him: "Couldn't have said it better" "I would love if Netflix tanked because of their greed.".
Brader:  "Netflix offers its loyal customers the "benefit" of going to two different websites, entering and maintaining two separate movie lists, consulting two different viewing histories, etc. .. Unbelievable"    . (Replies: "I'm cancelling" and "we cancelled streaming".)

I give him kudos for opening up the feedback.  Can he open wide enough to swallow this humiliating but invigorating meal?  These aren't ho-hum customers, they really loved Netflix and are embarrassed because they had persuaded their friends and relations to sign up too.

Hot Air has added a cartoon and speculation that Netflix was being squeezed by the movie people to pay user fees based on the subscriber base, not on actual streaming usage.

CNN has a writeup on the market background.  In 2010 Netflix paid $180 million in streaming fees and may be paying ten times that by 2012.  It also has less cash on hand than its rivals to cut new streaming deals.

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