I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to read Neflix splitting off their DVD mail business into a new company. Not surprised, though, to see that Netflix has essentially gone completely to streaming, as I mentioned that earlier this year. I’m pretty sure that’s been obvious for years now.
I was confused about the name Qwikster, though. Not that Reed Hastings reads my tweets, but was Mailflix (or DVDflix, Discflix, etc.) already taken? Why not go with the obvious and descriptive instead of a name that just implies something is going to be quick? Netflix mailings are fast—quick, even—but that name just seems like unnecessary nonsense1.
Despite all of the outrage over the price hikes and confusion (on the part of some, anyway; most likely just the press) over streaming services vs. discs, one has to appreciate Reed Hasting’s clarity of approach here. They are being very clear as to where they think the future lies. Of course, they must now navigate the figurative minefield of licensing to get content into streaming. No one (not even Apple or Amazon, by my observation) has done as good a job at this so far as Netflix. However, with the recent Starz announcement2, this does look like a massive mountain to climb. The success of Qwikster will depend less on licensing (who cares about the one-month period between DVD release and Netflix availability?) and more on adding value to the aging mail service.
One such value of additional interest, Qwikster will be adding game discs to their mail order service. Goodbye, Gamefly? We actually suspended our Gamefly account nearly three years ago. Great service, really, but we just never had the time to play the games. I’m not sure that we have loads more time now, but having the option to occasionally get games (for an additional fee, I suspect) on an existing account has more appeal than thawing out an account elsewhere.
Update: Great post by Dan Frommer with some great points to remember, particularly as to why avoiding DVD or Mail in the name Qwikster may have been a good idea for a possibly shifting business. (via Daring Fireball)