Two months later, are you sticking with Netflix, I mean Qwikster?

You may recall that about two months ago, Netflix raised the price of their services. Well that hike didn’t go over too well with consumers and Sunday their CEO offered an apology.

From The Washington Post:

“Remember when Netflix was a business that cheaply provided a service people wanted? Now Netflix and Qwikster are two businesses that less cheaply provide services that people only kind of want.

On Sunday night, the CEO of Netflix announced, in what may go down in history as the World’s Worst Apology Letter, that Netflix is sorry about doubling the price subscribers had to pay and, by the way, it is now dividing into two businesses, one to supply online video, the other — named Qwikster — to continue mailing you DVDs in red envelopes.”

The Washington Post editorial offered a biting commentary on what the company is really trying to do and how they feel the company has failed its customers. They wrote what they thought the CEO’s letter was really saying.

So I didn’t understand it all until I read this editorial. I didn’t get that they were trying to get out of the DVD mail business. I can see how streaming will be the wave of the future but it seems like we’re not quite there yet.

At first despite the giant percent increase for the service we were going to stick with them but now Michael is thinking we may drop the service all together. Since they are losing their relationship with Starz in 2012, he thinks we could do as well streaming Hulu and occasionally renting from Red Box or renting via iTunes.

So what did you make of the apology and the splitting of the service? Have you decided to stay or will you switch your business to other companies?

62 comments Add your comment

Techmom

September 20th, 2011
12:19 pm

We cancelled. We weren’t watching it enough for the $9(?)/mo we were paying. We either rent a RedBox or just do PPV. RedBox is cheaper but sometimes we don’t decide until last minute that there’s nothing on TV and we want to watch a movie so we pay for the convenience; I just remind myself that till tons cheaper than actually going to the movie theater. But even then we’re only watching 1 or 2 movies a month. Now if I could find a way to drop cable, I would. But since my husband and I both now work from home and have to have land lines and internet, it actually wouldn’t save us much if we were to cancel cable and keep phone/internet. I can’t complain though, the cable/phone/internet bill is still cheaper than gas.

MOmom

September 20th, 2011
12:19 pm

I thought the ‘apology’ was confusing and honestly we were never sent an email saying that the price had been raised. We have the 2 dvds and unlimited streaming. But since we moved to another side of town we do not have DSL or Fiber Optic internet so we can not even use the streaming movie feature. I’m glad that they are not totally converting to online only and that Qwikster will offer video games since BlockBuster and Redbox do, although I hope that wont be a huge price. But honestly I only stick with Netflix because of the anime and hard to find movies.

JJ

September 20th, 2011
12:19 pm

I’ve never used Netflix or Qwikster. I do On Demand about once every other month.

Lues

September 20th, 2011
12:27 pm

Ive been with netflix from the beginning, always loved them. However i never received an email at all, unless they only mailed it to VIPs, Well i just downgraded to streaming only and am now looking to buy a new streaming device so i can sign up with Amazon. Their flat rate is way cheaper than netflix. I also dont want the inconvenience of going to 2 websites for the same product.
Netflix is not the only one to blame for this, i also believe that the movie industry is trying to muscle in on the action, very mafia like.

Lori

September 20th, 2011
12:28 pm

We are sticking with the streaming but will drop the DVD service. But we don’t really use Netflix for movies, so our usage may be different that most. We utilize Netflix for TV programs mostly, such as programs we can’t watch here in the states. My husband is a fan of the Anime stuff, and Netflix is a good way to get that. We do also watch some of the family movies, and some of the old classic Looney Toons cartoons that don’t come on anymore. Netflix is WAY more than movies, so if all you care about is watching the occasional movie you missed at the theater, then it’s not worth the price, but if you use the other types of programming, then it’s pretty cool.

Jeff

September 20th, 2011
12:31 pm

I’ve actually never used Netflix. I’m not in to movies at all and have tons of things to watch on DVR.

HB

September 20th, 2011
12:39 pm

I’m surprised that so many people were using both the DVD and streaming service to begin with rather than one or the other. Actually, given that Netflix should have that info at their fingertips, I suspect relatively few customers actually are using both services regularly, so the company underestimated how important is was to people to have the option anyway. Personally, I don’t plan my viewing far in advance and have no interest in waiting for a DVD to show up by snail mail. I’ve only ever used the $8 streaming service, so I’m still a happy camper. I doubt I’ll notice that Starz is gone (not sure I’ve watched any of that). I think the stat I saw was that Starz makes up >80% of Netflix content, but only 15% of what is viewed (in other words, STARZ is largely crap that people don’t watch).

penguinmom

September 20th, 2011
12:41 pm

We are looking into Blockbuster. I have really enjoyed Netflix because it has been great to get a 2 day turn around on DVDs and to be able to introduce my kids to so much old media. We do utilize the DVD service because what we have been watching is old movies (for a movie class) and also introducing the kids to old TV shows. While some of the TV shows are available on streaming often the pilot is only available via DVD. The old movies have been hit or miss as far as what has been available on streaming and what hasn’t. (’old’ include all the way up to the 80’s not just B&W).

I really don’t want to go to two services. It is much nicer to have the two queues next to each other making it very easy to see that something you have on your DVD queue is now available on streaming.

If they had the same depth of content available via streaming we would have considered dropping the DVD portion but they really don’t. During the year we’ve had it many things that used to be available on streaming went to DVD only while only a few went the other way.

No matter what their CEO is an idiot for the way he handled this. It was totally backwards. If he had done the splitting announcement first with the obvious splitting of the fees that would have accompanied it, there would not have been nearly the backlash.

ABC

September 20th, 2011
12:50 pm

We’ve been with Netflix for over 10 years and while Reed Hastings has insulted his customers with the price hike and yesterday’s announcement to split up the streaming and DVD business, we are sticking with the 2 DVDs plus unlimited streaming…for now. We don’t make it out to the movies very often, and new movies seem to be DVD-only. So for us the cost is not an issue. What may become an issue is managing 2 queues that don’t talk to each other. For example, once something that was DVD only is available to stream, we’d remove it from our DVD queue. Looks like that process will be a pain in the rear now since we won’t automatically know if something is available by both methods. Eventually, once Amazon beefs up its offerings of current films, etc. we may switch, but for now we are reluctantly sticking with Qwik/flix or whatever they want to be called now.

Lady Strange

September 20th, 2011
12:50 pm

I am going to change to just streaming. I don’t watch enough by mail DVD movies from them to warrant the extra cost. I use streaming a lot though for cartoons, TV shows or movies, and it works with my computer, PlayStation and Wii so I can watch it in different rooms if I want. I also use Hulu for TV shows.

Blockbuster offers streaming but you have to pay per program, so it’s no savings at all. I really think Netflix shot themselves in the foot with this change.

BlondeHoney

September 20th, 2011
12:51 pm

The price hike didn’t affect me because I stream only; can’t be bothered with the whole mail DVD thing, it’s a hassle. And I totally agree with Lori in that I use it mostly for TV shows, not movies. I can watch season 1 of Glee commercial free as much as I want til my eyeballs fall out, not to mention season 1 of Mad Men too. Won’t miss the Starz content because I never watch it.

abc

September 20th, 2011
1:05 pm

I stream only. I don’t watch any broadcast programs at all, only Comcast On-Demand and Netflix. I’d give Hulu a try, I suppose. I’d really like to cancel cable, lose the land line, and only have Internet service, but my wife likes lots of TV programs.

Greg

September 20th, 2011
1:16 pm

I have the ability to stream, but I have tried it. I have DSL…its to choppy and stops to much. Also, I am now weary of the ISP limiting downloads. I do not want to be hit with extra fees because they wan to limit Netflixing…. Its all a sham.. I just grab dvds for cheap from a story nearby. 12 bucks for 4…new releases no streaming and no returning them. Better deal without the hassles…..

Bobby Blackwolf

September 20th, 2011
1:23 pm

The sad part is that most people don’t understand WHY the price hike happened – Netflix won’t publicly state the reason because it would damage their relationship with the content providers.

See, the content providers HATE Netflix. They feel that they are not getting enough money when you view something on Netflix. Since now that contracts are being renewed and Netflix’s popularity has skyrocketed, now companies want a LOT more just to license the same content they already had. I think I read somewhere that Netflix’s yearly licensing fees for all of instant watch was around the $150 million mark in 2010, but that number is jumping to over $1 billion in 2011 and 2012. For the same content! Starz is considering not renewing the licensing agreement – Sony movies has already pulled their content. WB Television has stated that they feel Netflix Instant Streaming hurts syndication ratings, so they will never put their shows (FRINGE) on the service.

There are several articles from the past few years from movie studios lamenting Netflix. Universal’s Craig Kornblau said “We don’t have an obligation to give consumers what they want when they want it” and “While there are things in the Netflix system that are clearly cannibalistic [to sales], there are things we can change, They can pay us more or we can reduce the quality of what we give them.” Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes won’t license HBO content to Netflix unless they charge consumers $20/month. Turner’s Phil Kent said “We’ve been telling our suppliers — the various studios that we buy from — that in the future, [Netflix streaming deals are] going to have a significant impact on what we’re going to be willing to pay for programming or even bid at all,”

So, unfortunately, Netflix is kinda doomed. They can’t afford to license the content they already have without raising prices, but raising prices creates customer ire. They can’t point the finger at the greedy studios, because then those studios can say “Well we don’t want to work with you anyway!” So they need to take the PR hit. Content providers are already starting to provide their own streaming services – see HBO Go and ESPN3 – and that will be the continuing trend. I believe that soon Netflix will go the way of TiVo – a pioneer of the technology and the leader in raising the public’s awareness, but ultimately rendered irrelevant by the content providers. (How many people do you know actually have a TiVo rather than a generic DVR provided by your cable or satellite provider? Exactly.)

In a few years, there won’t be a single one stop shop for instant viewing content. Instead, you’ll have to subscribe to multiple ones based on whose content you want to view. And Netflix will be hailed as the innovator, but ultimately couldn’t fight with the establishment.

LiasMom

September 20th, 2011
1:30 pm

We’re sticking with it for DVDs by mail. We’re on the three at a time plan, and we go through about 2 or 3 a week, so it’s definitely cheaper than going to the movies, using On Demand, or the iconvenience of going to Redbox — plus, we like the smaller indie movies and my husband likes the Asian crime movies that the corner boxes just don’t have. We don’t use streaming at all — I don’t want to watch a movie on my tiny PC monitor or laptop screen (we don’t have an internet-enabled tv yet) and if I miss a tv show, I can get most of those from just from the network’s site for free or from on-demand. I just wish they’d given the silly thing a better name!

a reader

September 20th, 2011
1:33 pm

well i haven’t been able to find those weird scary asian flix anywhere else, but i did reduce the DVD from 2 to 1 a month.

Ed

September 20th, 2011
1:36 pm

You people are idiots. Even if they had quadrupled the price, the service would still be worth it. With instant streaming and movies by mail, everyone in the family has something to watch. And you are all b*tching about it like you were forced to sign up in the first place.

jarvis

September 20th, 2011
1:40 pm

Two anime fans in the first few posts. That’s very surprising. I didn’t know it was that it had that much of a mom following.

homeschooler

September 20th, 2011
1:41 pm

We won’t change anything. We still love Netflix. We get 1 DVD and streaming but we do not have any cable etc.. We got rid of Direct TV several years ago and have never regretted it. We have a streaming device and have plenty of options on what to watch. TV is just not worth 60 dollars a month to me. We also have Hulu Plus but I hate it. I constantly have problems with it pausing and not being able to get back where I was watching. I’m going to cancel it.

I’ve watched more TV since getting the streaming than I ever did before. I love being able to watch a series from the beginning. I’ve watched Lost, 24, Mad Men… We use the DVDs to get other shows that are not available through streaming. My kids love the Little House on the Prarie series. We get an occasional movie but primarily get TV shows. I like Redbox but usually pay 5.00 for the movie by the time I get around to returning it.

@Techmom.. We have to have a land line for a business also. We bundle our landline, cell and internet through AT&T, don’t pay for cable and don’t pay for a “home” phone. After years of trying to manage these ridiculous phone/utilities cost I’ve found this to be the cheapest for us.

Ed

September 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

Not quite there yet? Streaming devices can be bought for 20 bucks and there are a dozen different kinds.

If you think itunes and redbox are viable alternatives to a service as cheap and efficient as netflix, you are a moron.

ABC

September 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

Yes, shock of shocks, some of us moms are science-fiction/fantasy fans too!

Purple Drank

September 20th, 2011
1:52 pm

I wish they had porn on Netflix.

Emma

September 20th, 2011
1:52 pm

DOWNSIZING!!!! Looking at what Walmart VUDU has to offer. We don’t have cable so this is how we watch our tv, but it’s not worth it anymore!!!!! You pay more but no expansion of streaming options like NEW RELEASES. @LiasMom if you have a DVD player with the streaming capabilities you can watch right on your tv…that’s how we do it.

homeschooler

September 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

@ Theresa.. I submitted a post that seems to have gotten lost.

@ LisasMom.. we have a ROKU box. 79.00 and you can get HULU, Pandora, Netflix and several other things through the TV. We love it. We can also stream through the Wii.

mystery poster

September 20th, 2011
2:13 pm

We use both the streaming and the mail DVD service. As some have already said, everything we want to watch is not available to stream (some TV shows and older movies). We have been cable-free for two years now, and except for over-the-air, this is how we watch our TV. I did reduce the number of DVDs out at a time from 2 to 1.

@Emma, we have our laptop hooked directly to the TV with a cord similar to what you would use for a projector. It’s hidden, it runs through the basement and back up again. We can watch regular Hulu or any other Internet content that way. We just bought a Roku. Pros: very easy to use and great picture quality with the medium DSL speed. Cons: limited in what it will show.

mystery poster

September 20th, 2011
2:13 pm

@homeschooler
You can’t get regular Hulu with the Roku, only Hulu plus.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

I will look for it.

Me

September 20th, 2011
2:23 pm

nah, we’re like a Nun and 7-Up… Never had it, Never will…

malleesmom

September 20th, 2011
2:28 pm

We dropped Netflix months before the pricing announcement. I thought we might go back when the weather got colder and we were inside more. With all the recent developments though, we’ve decided to stay away. We don’t watch many movies and already have a dvr with our ATT system to that meets our needs for now.

DB

September 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

@Bobby Blackwolf: That was an interesting summation of the problems Netflix is facing, thanks. (And yes, I still have TiVo — I LOVE it, and much prefer watching Netflix on TV instead of the computer, although we can also do that through the X-Box.)

We loved the old Netflix, and used the 1 DVD at a time plan before. However, when they changed the pricing, we just stayed with streaming. If we are that anxious to see a DVD that isn’t on streaming, it’s probably at Redbox (cheaper) or I’ll watch OnDemand, or I’ll just buy it — too many other options that are more immediate and cheaper.

I did get an email from Netflix a couple of days ago, apologizing for the way everything was handled. Personally, I thought it was a pretty self-serving for an “apology” letter. But the market will determine if their new business model is successful or not.

Lori

September 20th, 2011
2:40 pm

You said it, @ABC. I love sci-fi and fantasy. I’m in the middle of a Farscape rewatch right now!!

Lori

September 20th, 2011
2:50 pm

What’s a Roku box? My Blue Ray player has access to Netflix, Pandora and many other streaming sites.

ABC

September 20th, 2011
3:20 pm

@Lori, I’m watching Doctor Who and Torchwood on Netflix streaming!

Hannah

September 20th, 2011
3:22 pm

What makes me angry is that in the email about the price hike, they were acting so excited about it and like it was the only thing that made sense. I understand that they only want to stream now, but their instant list is so limited! How about splitting the company once the online library is the same as the mailing library?

BehindEnemyLines

September 20th, 2011
3:24 pm

Sticking, somewhat reluctantly, for the time being. No other service provides the combination that seems to be used in my house – entirely impulse viewing, an odd mix of older/obscure movies streamed + random TV shows (almost entirely several years old) + the occasional DVD movie that isn’t available on streaming .. plus no other service provides the convenience of streaming via XBox 360. The latter probably influences my decision as much (or more) than anything else.

timthebrave

September 20th, 2011
3:29 pm

red box or blockbuster express at a $1 a time is the way I go. Plus with all the coupons I get I usually get them for free

Sylvania

September 20th, 2011
3:35 pm

We don’t stream, never watch TV on a computer, and the nearest store that has any sort of Redbox, etc., is 20 miles away. We also don’t spend a lot of time in front of the TV, so the Netflix one DVD at a time option is perfect for our Saturday night movie night.

HB

September 20th, 2011
4:02 pm

Hannah, Bobby Blackwolf’s explanation sounds reasonable to me, so I suspect with companies charging Netflix more to distribute their content that Netflix couldn’t wait to increase the price if they wanted to stay in business. I’m betting the choice was raise everyone’s rate to pretty close to what the two services combined are now, or split the services and give everyone the choice of subscribing to one or the other at a lower price. The availability of so much streaming content is really throwing everyone’s business model for a loop.

I agree with you about the letter, DB — worst apology ever. I was fine with the changes, but the “apology” annoyed me.

Lori

September 20th, 2011
4:04 pm

I also travel with my job, so the streaming over to my iPad is nice! I don’t have to worry about being bored out of my mind in the hotel with the 10 channels of TV offered! I can watch whatever I want on Netflix! Although, I have to admit that you have to be careful streaming over the 3G service on the iPad. Best to stay at hotels that offer free WiFi.

FCM

September 20th, 2011
4:56 pm

I have DISH….and so I DVR the shows that I want to see.

As a special “bonus” they gave members a subscription to STARZ for the year. It is largely crap. Or at least there are very few “new” movies….and they play them repeatedly for so many months in a row. They have had Eat, Love, Pray running since last April.

Right now Tangled is on.

I figure since it is “free” I have no real room to complain. However, I won’t be purchasing any movie channels when the promo is over.

I do rent movies sometimes from Blockbuster kiosk. If it is one I really want (Harry Potter 7.2 I will purchase it at Target)…..but for the most part if you ware willing to wait a month or so — when the price comes down….you get the DVD at Target or Walmart for a fair price.

FCM

September 20th, 2011
4:59 pm

I get DR WHO online….and honestly since David Tennant left I have not been happy with the show.

Still it is the longest running SciFi show in history.

irisheyes

September 20th, 2011
8:18 pm

We dropped the streaming and just went with the DVD by mail. We didn’t stream that often, and I like the chance to get virtually every movie around. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep the DVD service since I don’t even watch the DVD’s that often, but if they’re adding games, my kids may force me to keep it. :-)

wgb

September 20th, 2011
9:15 pm

Cancelled all as soon as they raised the price. I was one of their best customers only getting 6 movies or so a year. Glad they sent me a wake up call!!

Cammi317

September 20th, 2011
9:30 pm

I have had Netflix for years and I am REALLY annoyed right now. Up until last month, I could stream on as many devices as I wanted despite whatever arbitrary rules they posted at some point. All of the sudden one day my daughter was watching something on the Roku box and I tried to stream from my computer and was told I could only stream on one device because I had the 1 DVD plan. I was forced to up my DVD’s to 3 so that myself, my daughter and whatever relative/friend visiting would all be able to stream different programs on the computers or tv’s. The bogus e-mail/apology sent out (which by the way I never received, read about it on the ajc and facebook) says that DVD rental and streaming are separate businesses. If that is the case, what happens if I drop my DVD’s back to 1 or none? How will that affect the number of devices streaming in my home?

Cammi317

September 20th, 2011
9:32 pm

Oh, I also have HuluPlus which streams on my Roku Box and Crackle (which is free) also streams on there.

Sally

September 20th, 2011
9:35 pm

I haven’t changed anything yet. I will have streaming and DVD. I don’t have cable so I feel ok about the expense. However, I will be upset when they split the websites. That will be a big inconvenience!! Plus, as it is now, if you have something in your DVD que and it becomes available for streaming it’s marked. Now, you’ll have to search both places to figure it out. It’s already kind of hard to find what’s streaming anyway. I’ve always thought they should send out emails or something regularly telling you what they’ve added.

Anyway, I will be watching the landscape as things become available. I could do Amazon On Demand. I have equipment that does it as well as Netflix. I also have Apple TV so I could rent from them. I haven’t analyzed it enough yet. But I will.

Sally

September 20th, 2011
9:38 pm

Oh yes, the streaming deal with with Starz. If they don’t replace that with something good it’s going to significantly affect them. I would have loved to go to streaming only a long time ago but the selection is limited. Still haven’t tried Hulu. But I guess I will. The issue with Hulu is partly that they aren’t on alot of the streaming devices you can buy. I have several of them and Hulu is only available on one.

Marie

September 20th, 2011
10:16 pm

I dropped the streaming because it doesn’t have captioning. I kept the DVD rental (one at a time)and it works fine for me.

Jenny

September 20th, 2011
10:52 pm

I had no problem with the price increase. I do have a problem with the separation of services, the lists unable to talk to each other, etc. If the streaming selections were sufficient, we wouldn’t need DVDs, but they are not, so we do.

Retiredtelecom

September 20th, 2011
10:55 pm

I love Netflix and subscribe to the one at a time with the Blue Ray option and will stick with this option. About 8 months ago I invested in a Roku box, an extra Roku power supply, a refurbished Linksys E2000 wireless router and two HDMI Cables (one for the living room TV and one for the bedroom TV). Together everything ran me approximately $120.00 (Ebay). When I wanted to watch streaming on the other TV all I had to do was move the Roku box and just plug up the extra HMDI cable and the extra power supply.

I am retired and watch a lot of TV. For the first four or five months I used the streaming option four or five times a week while at the same time I also received two DVDs in the mail each week. By the end of the 4th or 5th month I found myself running out of streaming items that I really wanted to watch and found myself using the streaming service less and less. In the sixty days prior to the price increase I did not use the streaming option at all. So, when they announced the price increase, it was an easy decision to drop the streaming option and keep my delivery option.

Would I go back to the streaming option…yes, but Netflix will have to vastly increase the quality of their streaming library to offer more recent movies and other venues. If and when they offer the same movies that are available with their mailing option for the same price I am paying ($10.66 w/taxes) for the delivery option, I will probably switch over to just the streaming service. I would probably even pay a couple dollars more each month. Until then, I still have my equipment if I decide to use another streaming provider but, as of now, I have not found another provider at what I consider a reasonable charge.