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Being physically disabled a lot of the time I never really understood how much I used Neflix to keep the DVD's coming while adding more titles to their streaming service. I always paid more than the basic rate because when you can't go out much, after working for hours on the site I enjoy watching some BBC, or a Johnnie To movies. Plus, the Instawatch service has been adding great foreign movies to their library like Meserine, or the dynamite foreign biopic called Carlos. I also love films like the Mad Detective, 13 Assassins and Let The Right One In. The American remake called Let Me In was also very good. Chloe Moretz is going to be a big star. She stole the uneven Kick Ass, but I wouldn't have seen her without Netflix. However, you actually need both DVD's and streaming because they rarely ever stream new movies like Winter's Bone or Hanna so you need both parts of the company. Splitting them up never even occurred to me because that was the beauty of Netflix.
As you've already heard, Netflix arrogantly raised their prices by almost 60 percent and their CEO figured we'd fall all over ourselves and praise the almighty Netflix. Wrong. The stock lost 40 percent when it was reported that they lost almost a million subscribers immediately. Instead of rethinking their strategy, their CEO wrote a blog post saying how he "messed up" because like a typical CEO, gouging your customers is all in a good days work. So what's he going to do about it? Maybe lower the price for a few months or give his old customers some incentive to reel them back in. Nope. See, all these angry people really needed was for Hastings to offer up an explanation as to why he price gouged everybody. He's sorry he didn't keep us all in the loop.
Netflix's chief executive officer apologized to subscribers for "arrogance based upon past success" in a remarkably frank mea culpa he posted on the Internet late Sunday while announcing plans to separate the company's DVD and video streaming services.
"I messed up," Reed Hastings, the company's co-founder and CEO wrote in a blog post.."I owe everyone an explanation."
A couple of months ago, Netflix split its streaming and DVD-by-mail services, raising prices by as much as 60 percent. The customer backlash was immediate and Netflix now says that it expects a total of 24 million subscribers in the third quarter, down from the 25 million it forecast in July.
Netflix's stock price has fallen more than 40 percent below where it stood before the company unveiled the higher prices. The cost to shareholders so far: more than $6 billion in paper losses.
"In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success," wrote Hastings, who went on to criticize the way the pricing change got communicated to subscribers.
"We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, "Actions speak louder than words," and we should just keep improving our service," he said.
"But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both," he continued. "It wouldn't have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do."
The DVD-by-mail service will now be called Qwikster. The company said that its streaming service will continue to be offered under the Netflix brand. While customers can still subscribe to both, the sites will no longer be integrated. The websites will have separate billing and ratings systems. Hastings elaborated on the changes in the accompanying YouTube video.
I am still a member only because of my injury. Since I've cut down on going out to dinners with friends and other fun things everybody else does for entertainment, I have the extra cash it now costs. I was going to start a weekly Open Thread giving C&L readers a Netflix Instawatch pick of the day review, but until they get their act together, why bother mentioning them.