Netflix doesn’t want consumers to associate its name with plastic discs anymore.
I think given all the Netflix stuff coming out, the above statement is just about all we know for certain right now. Poritsky is spot on. It would have been vastly easier for Netflix to position the streaming side (from day one) as a separate business — they never did.
Netflix seems to have had the fear all along of someone/something coming along and doing to them what they did to Blockbuster and other video stores. Not only are they aware of this, but they have proven that they are fighting against it — preemptively.
I am not sure that some of the assumptions Poritsky makes about the Netflix services of the future will hold true — especially his fears about just how separate the services will be.
Personally I think this is step one for Netflix’s exit from the shipping plastic media business.
What Hastings can now do and say is:
- Look at the financials for Qwikster now that it is separate from Netflix, Qwikster loses money every day.
- Given that we can’t afford to keep it open.
- We aren’t closing Netflix, just this Qwikster thing.
Basically, right at the point when the consumer recognizes the distinction between the two services (12 months?) they shut Qwikster down. Thus, they are not removing a feature, just killing a struggling business — who can blame them for that?