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Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into "Quixster," adds game rentals


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Netflix spins DVD-by-mail service off into "Quixster," adds game rentals
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Robo
Formerly Roboman, still
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2011-09-19, 00:48

So they started pricing streaming and DVDs-by-mail as two separate services because they intended to make them two separate services. Suddenly, it all makes sense.

OK, not really. It seems the services won't be integrated or share a queue, which kind of sucks. But Netflix probably wants to sell off Quixster, so it makes sense for them.

They're about as disinterested in optical media as Apple is.

For their part, Quixster is planning to offer a game rental add-on, similar to their $2 Blu-ray option. I'm hoping this means game rentals are also a $2 option. They really shouldn't charge more, since games would presumably count toward the number of discs you're allowed to have out at a time. And $9.99 ($7.99 + $2.00) a month for unlimited DVD or game rentals, one at a time, should be reasonably compelling.

Quixster pretty much has to move towards games to keep their by-mail service relevant, so good for them. I wish they picked a better name than "Quixster," though. It reminds me of "Quixtar," which is what Amway started calling itself in America after "Amway" developed a poor brand image. Or maybe "Kwik Star," which is a chain of convenience stores in the Midwest.

Netflix + Quixster will never be the insanely good value as it was when it was one $9 service, but if you can get unlimited streaming, DVDs, Blu-rays, and games for $19.98 a month, that's really not at all bad compared to pretty much any other entertainment option. People pay more than that for text messages. But I guess it depends on how much you would use the by-mail service.

GameFly ("Netflix for games" before Netflix Quixster added games) is probably in trouble.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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Brad
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2011-09-19, 01:44

Ugh.

That's about all I can muster as a response to this news. I can only imagine this as a power play against the movie/TV studios because I don't see any way this benefits the customers.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Robo
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2011-09-19, 02:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Ugh.

That's about all I can muster as a response to this news. I can only imagine this as a power play against the movie/TV studios because I don't see any way this benefits the customers.
I think they're preparing it for an eventual sale or spinoff. It's clear Netflix has seen its future in streaming for some time (or they would have added games-by-mail years ago).

I just can't get over the amateurish name. Are we back in the Napster/Friendster/Fill-in-the-blankster era now? It's obvious they want to distance it from the "Netflix" brand and from "flix" in general, but I think I'd actually prefer a web 2.0 name like "DLVRD." (There's even a subliminal D-V-D!) Quixster is overly gimmicky and hard to spell (don't forget the "s" or spell it "Quickster," even though it's pronounced the same!).

Also, I get that they want to keep the red envelopes, but with Netflix, Redbox, and now Quixster, there are three major movie rental providers that heavily use red in their branding...plus Dish Network, and Comcast, and XFINITY, and Verizon FiOS, and YouTube, and...stop using red guys! I know, I know, "red carpet" and all, but seriously.

Anyway, enough branding geekery. If games rentals are cheap, Quixster should be able to stay relevant for a while. But that's a big "if," and their core product becomes less relevant by the day. I'm sure some panicking digital latecomer will eventually buy Quixster for the customer base and then drive it into the ground. Walmart, maybe?

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
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chucker
 
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2011-09-19, 03:05

It's not a great name, but I think everyone's beef with it (try a Twitter search) is overblown. As for the act of spinning off, I don't see how this is surprising, or, in the long run, bad news.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
I don't see any way this benefits the customers.
It lets Netflix focus on stuff that actually has a future. I don't see how that's bad for its customers.

And it gives those who still rent DVDs (hey, they gotta be out there… somewhere… anyone?) a supplier for probably a few more years to come.
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chucker
 
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2011-09-19, 03:08

Also, Macs no longer have ADB.
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Robo
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2011-09-19, 03:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
It's not a great name, but I think everyone's beef with it (try a Twitter search) is overblown.
Case in point: I've been getting it wrong this entire thread. It's Qwikster. Not Qwickster, Qwixter, Qwixster, Quixster, Quickster, Quikster, or Quixter.

And it's not just me: Counting the typos in this comment thread, I'm up to Qwickster, Quixster, and Quikster. (Another user also makes the unpleasant Quixtar association.) It's simply a dysfunctional name, and even if it were functional it wouldn't be particularly memorable or evocative. It boggles the mind that a company with Netflix's resources couldn't have come up with something better; the only explanation is that They Just Didn't Care.

A common rule in naming is one "gimmick" per name. Netflix works. Flickr works. Qwikster has two, right off the bat — the w in place of a u and the dropping of the c — plus the meaningless suffix -ster, which probably counts as a third. If the name was just "Qwik," they probably would have been able to skate by without too many people spelling it wrong (though I'd still expect some Qwick and especially Quik from less-hip peoples). But Qwikster? Not a chance.

Oh, and @Qwikster currently belongs to a Muppet holding a joint. Smooth.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong

Last edited by Robo : 2011-09-19 at 04:32.
  quote
ThunderPoit
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2011-09-19, 06:04

I dont care what they call themselves, let me watch on more than one tv at a time in my own house, dammit!
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Robo
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2011-09-19, 06:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderPoit View Post
I dont care what they call themselves, let me watch on more than one tv at a time in my own house, dammit!
That would still be Netflix.
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torifile
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2011-09-19, 06:37

I should have shorted the stock when I first thought about it 3 weeks ago.
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Brad
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2011-09-19, 07:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
It lets Netflix focus on stuff that actually has a future.
Right, because no one company ever has been able to support and expand two related but distinct products without spinning them off into separate subsidiary companies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Also, Macs no longer have ADB.
And weren't we all so excited when Apple forked off its aging Mac division to another company when they saw the future was all about iPhones and iPads? At least those two products didn't share a common interface.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Ryan
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2011-09-19, 08:01

I almost get the feeling that they know the name is horrible and it’s all tongue in cheek because that’s just how *little* they care about their mail service now.
  quote
jdcfsu
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2011-09-19, 08:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO
A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.
They already realize that this is going to be a pain to their customers, yet they are moving forward with it anyway. I understand the desire to split the two and focus on streaming, but they don't exactly have the catalog to merit such a move at the moment. Let alone force it's customers to manage two different sites.

On top of that, they don't even own the Qwikster Twitter name. It belongs to some random pothead. This was very poorly done.
  quote
709
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Join Date: May 2004
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2011-09-19, 08:57

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Ugh.
x2.

The lack of integration is going to be a real problem. One of the nice things about the Rental Queue is that it would update and let you know whenever one the the movies was now available for streaming. Now what? I have to check both sites to even find out if the film is available? Maybe if the subtitling on Netflix streaming wasn't so horrible I'd watch more online, but as it is now I immediately put any foreign film in my DVD delivery queue, regardless if it's offered streaming.

Plus, Qwikster ? Really?

I cant wait to see the new logo. Probably the same arch made with 1990's era TypeStyler, only new letters.

Geranium lover, I'm live on your wire.
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dmegatool
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2011-09-19, 09:08

So I guess we don't get that Qwickstern in Canada ? Netflix is streaming only here, no DVD or anything. We're so about the future !!
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bassplayinMacFiend
Banging the Bottom End
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2011-09-19, 09:13

Qwikster sounds like a file sharing service.

Only did streaming Netflix so I'm personally not concerned about DVDs but I can see how this would upset people, with multiple queues, multiple bills, multiple clueless customer service departments, etc.
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spotcatbug
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2011-09-19, 10:49

It really feels like there's still another shoe that's going to drop, re. Qwikster, and we're all going to be like, "Whoa! Now it all makes sense."

Could the Zediva* business model work into Netflix's plan somehow? I mean, if Netflix wanted to start doing what Zediva was doing (streaming directly from actual DVDs), they'd need to jettison the DVD side of their business first (right?). Once they have DVD streaming going, they can say to the studios, "Hey, whatever you don't let us pay you to stream directly, we're just gonna stream off a DVD, so you might as well play ball with us."

Yeah, Zediva got shutdown, but I believe that's mostly because they aren't big enough to really fight the studios on the legal issue(s). They only stayed in operation while they were under the MPAA's radar. I think Netflix could actually fight the MPAA.

*I guess since they got shutdown, the Zediva web site doesn't give too much info about what they were up to. What they did was have a whole bunch of DVD players connected to the Internet. You would rent a particular movie and then, instead of them sending it to you, they'd pop it into a DVD player and stream directly from that player to your home. Basically a long distance DVD rental. Apparently (at least they believed this), that doesn't infringe on any copyright laws.

Ugh.
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alcimedes
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2011-09-19, 11:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by spotcatbug View Post

*I guess since they got shutdown, the Zediva web site doesn't give too much info about what they were up to. What they did was have a whole bunch of DVD players connected to the Internet. You would rent a particular movie and then, instead of them sending it to you, they'd pop it into a DVD player and stream directly from that player to your home. Basically a long distance DVD rental. Apparently (at least they believed this), that doesn't infringe on any copyright laws.
That is fucking brilliant.
  quote
ezkcdude
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Join Date: Jan 2005
 
2011-09-19, 11:15

The judge's conclusion in that case seems pretty hard to argue against:

Quote:
U.S. District Court Judge John Walter in Los Angeles wasn’t impressed with that reading of copyright law, writing “As the copyright holders, Plaintiffs have the exclusive right to decide when, where, to whom, and for how much they will authorize transmission of their Copyrighted Works to the public.” Walter said copyright law defined public as any person, not a collection of people.
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chucker
 
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2011-09-19, 11:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
Right, because no one company ever has been able to support and expand two related but distinct products without spinning them off into separate subsidiary companies.
That's not the point at all, and you know it. The CEO can say what he wants; everyone knows what he really means is that they don't see as much of a future for DVD rentals as they do for streaming.

The next best option would have been to kill that feature altogether.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
And weren't we all so excited when Apple forked off its aging Mac division to another company when they saw the future was all about iPhones and iPads? At least those two products didn't share a common interface.
Huh? If anything, Apple is even worse in that regard. They don't spin off; they kill.

I'm not sure what you're arguing here, since they have killed ruthlessly under Jobs 2.0. Obvious examples like the Newton are joined by less obvious ones like clickwheel-based iPods.
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Banana
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2011-09-19, 12:49

I can't help but wonder if they're overplaying their hand here. Yeah, streaming is awesome and all that but is it ready to be the only mode of content delivery? In my case, I liked being able to get physical discs in mail for some content that for whatever reasons weren't worth watching via streaming. Now they're chucking out that integration which made their streaming all more attractive?

Maybe they've got an Ace up their sleeve but I don't feel any bit less screwed.
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chucker
 
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2011-09-19, 12:57

Siracusa:
Quote:
My main complaint about Qwikster is the lack of honesty about the motivation, made worse by being within an apology about poor communication
  quote
spotcatbug
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2011-09-19, 13:15

This Wired article has some interesting ideas on the Netflix split.
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Bryson
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2011-09-19, 13:21

There's a clue in the name, surely?

Internet streaming was all they were ever really interested in. The DVD thing was just a stopgap until technology and content deals allowed for the streaming business. DVDs by post are a dead technology.

I think (hope?) that the ace up their sleeve is much more comprehensive content deals for the streaming library.
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Yontsey
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2011-09-19, 13:29

If they're going to shift all of their focus into the streaming aspect of it, I hope they get a better/more current selection of movies and tv shows. I loved Hulu but the commercials drove me away from them, thus canceling my subscription.

Die young and save yourself....
@yontsey
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Bryson
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2011-09-19, 13:33

Although why the hell the new company isn't called Postflix (or Mailflix) is beyond me.

Qwikster? Is that a type of electric scooter?
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pscates2.0
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Join Date: May 2004
 
2011-09-19, 13:43

I'm not a Netflix subscriber (but I want to be, along with an tv). Tell me about it. What was this big change this summer that pissed everyone off?

What is the monthly fee I'd pay for streaming, and what, exactly, does that get me? They've got a really useless website, so I'd rather just ask real people I trust/know.



BTW, I'm really only interested in the streaming stuff (to my iMac, iPhone and, eventually, a TV via tv). I do have that choice, correct, of which device (and when) I want to watch streaming content?

Explain to me how they screwed up earlier, and what today's news means in the big picture?

I don't give a pooh about games, or home delivery of DVDs (or anything else, for that matter), so I'm thinking I might be good with the streaming-only thing.
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Robo
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2011-09-19, 13:58

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I'm not a Netflix subscriber (but I want to be, along with an tv). Tell me about it. What was this big change this summer that pissed everyone off?

What is the monthly fee I'd pay for streaming, and what, exactly, does that get me? They've got a really useless website, so I'd rather just ask real people I trust/know.
You would sign up for Netflix (the streaming service) and ignore Qwikster (the by-mail service). Netflix is $7.99/month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates
Explain to me how they screwed up earlier, and what today's news means in the big picture?
The earlier "screw-up" was when they significantly increased the cost of having both the by-mail and streaming plans. It used to be $9 and up, now it's $16 and up. They lost a lot of customers with this move. Now they're splitting streaming and by-mail into two completely separate services that won't share a website or interface, which hurts usability (no shared queue or history or ratings or recommendations, &c.). It's like they're trying to get everybody to cancel the by-mail service while creating a new business entity that relies solely on it. It seems fairly counterintuitive.

But again, if you're a streaming-only subscriber, none of this affects you. If you wouldn't have subscribed to Netflix's by-mail service before, now you just won't subscribe to Qwikster's by-mail service. The Netflix brand is all about streaming now.

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
  quote
spotcatbug
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2011-09-19, 14:03

Read an interesting thought somewhere (sorry I got lost in the web, so I have no link):

If Netflix and Qwikster were two companies that had grown separately, it would seem really prudent for them to merge now. Netflix could fill the gaps in its streaming library with DVDs by mail and Qwikster could offer streaming for the times while you're waiting for their DVDs. Plus! They could combine your accounts and give you a single queue and ratings system. It would be really cool.

Ugh.
  quote
chucker
 
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2011-09-19, 14:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryson View Post
There's a clue in the name, surely?
Agreed. To be fair, though, for most of their existence, they were DVD-only (I think?), so that's what they're commonly associated with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryson View Post
Although why the hell the new company isn't called Postflix (or Mailflix) is beyond me.
Presumably to dissociate themselves ASAP. This isn't a sister company; it's more of a dispose-off than a spin-off. AFAICT, YMMV, IANANetflixCustomer, yadda yadda.
  quote
ezkcdude
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2011-09-19, 14:06

Streaming only is great if you don't care about watching new movies.

If you watch a lot of movies, say more than 6 per month, the DVD/Blu-Ray service is still the best way to go. I get the 2 DVD at a time service for $14.99, which amounts to 8 discs per months for me. That would cost something like $40 per month on Amazon or Apple.
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