Monday, September 19, 2011

Netflix: You Are Testing My Love for You

So, this happened:

"... streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to “Qwikster”. -- Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix

The reaction was instantaneous and huge: 21,234 comments at last count.

I didn't mind the recent price increase; Netflix is still a piece of the future.

But the streaming/DVD split breaks the UX for people who do both, by requiring separate sites and separate searches-- that's the opposite of an improvement.

Until as much content is available through streaming as the US Postal Service delivers to my door in the familiar red envelope, this change makes the UX worse, not better.

"Software is media," says Fred Wilson, and media that is smooth will beat media that is clumsy. Netflix just made itself more clumsy.

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