∞ Netflix punts on Qwikster service

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings indicates the company will not be launching a new Qwikster DVD distribution service after all. He explains the decision in a new blog post at Netflix.com.

Hastings raised the ire of customers and investors alike several weeks ago when he announced that Netflix would split into a streaming video service – still called Netflix – and a DVD distribution service to be called Qwikster. Customers who continued to subscribe to both services would need to manage two separate queues on two separate Web sites and would have two separate entries on their bill.

The move was universally panned by critics, who felt that it diluted the Netflix brand, alienated customers at a time when Netflix was already losing them at an alarming rate, and complicated the customer experience unnecessarily.

Netflix and Hastings got the message, it seems. In the tersely worded blog post, Hastings said:

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.This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.

Hastings also reiterated that the company is keeping its controversial price increases in place – Netflix raised the price of its combined streaming and DVD delivery service by more than 60 percent over the summer.

Hastings said that in recent weeks, Netflix has added more than 3,500 TV shows to its streaming service, along with “hundreds of movies” from major studios.