Netflix splits in half – DVD service Qwikster also to include games

By Jessica Citizen
20 September 2011 04:20 GMT

By now, you’re probably aware that Netflix is dead. What we once associated with the name is, anyway. The company’s DVD-by-mail business has been split off, renamed “Qwikster”, and plans to take the world by storm in “a few weeks”. Oh, and it’ll ship video games to you, too.

In the hours since the announcement, I don’t think CEO Reed Hastings has gotten the response he was predicting.

Posting “An Explanation and Some Reflections” to the Netflix Blog, Hastings admits that he “messed up” over the past few months, when the company announced plans to separate DVD and streaming media, not to mention the changes to the price structure that involved.

So, he’s taken a deep breath and split the company in half, acknowledging that the different businesses have “very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently”.

The intention is to reduce consumer confusion, by completely splitting the two companies. Netflix and Qwikster will feature separate user accounts and separate movie ratings, and Qwikster – effectively the same DVD service under a different name – even has its own CEO, Andy Rendich (ex-Netflix, of course!).

Excitingly for gamers, we’re now included in the proposal, as Hastings explains:
“One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done.”

That bit’s good, at least – although I’m already hearing people who are planning to boycott the new services, cancel their accounts and move away from both Netflix and Qwikster. Can’t please all the people all the time now, can you?

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