Netflix Finally Does Something Right

Responding to widespread anger about spinning off its DVD business, Netflix has dumped Qwikster before it was even out of the gate. Based on the news, The New York Times says Netflix’s stock price has moved in a positive direction and Wired has published the image at left. Huzzah!

Subscribers came out in full force when the plan to split the DVD and streaming service was announced just a few weeks ago, with many dropping the service. A blog post (that has comments calling for CEO Reed Hastings’s ouster) has posted and subscribers got an email with the new plan.

“Dear Tonya,” the email reads, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.” Price changes will stay the same, but streaming selection will improve, the company says.

The Wall Street Journal calls it Netflix’s “New Coke” moment. And while it doesn’t do a company any good to rile up its customers, listening to them and dumping a bad idea is a smart step.

Quoting its coverage of the Coke reversal in 1985, the paper writes, “The move was lauded by industry observers as a fast response to market signals.” While Netflix may have “moved too quickly” to introduce this new plan, as Hastings previous blog post supposed, a speedy decision was now necessary. Other home entertainment companies began lining up to take disgruntled customers away from Netflix.

“It’s an acknowledgment that none of that stuff matters if customers aren’t on your side,” Wired writes. “You can’t reach into their pockets and charge them more for less content and apologize only for bad messaging. Then, you can’t introduce  ‘innovations’ like a separate site that make their lives most absolutely more difficult, with a name that sounds like the punchline to a ten-year-old joke.”

Well, you can do all of these things, but then you have to suffer the consequences, both to your finances and your reputation.

My Mediabistro colleague, who previously lamented her second-class status on Netflix under the defunct Qwikster, now says, “Well at least they’re listening.”

Update: After a jump in stock price, Netflix closes down for the day.

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