Ding, dong, Netflix's Qwikster is dead

Just three weeks after Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) CEO Reed Hasting announced the pending debut of Qwikster, the company's new DVD by mail spin off, the business has been reabsorbed by Netflix and the ill-fated play has been abandoned.

Hastings, announcing the move on the Netfix blog this morning, wrote, "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. "

The move to split the company into two distinct parts last month elicited thousands of complaints from subscribers, many of them already steaming from the company's decision to charge 60 percent more for a streaming and DVD-by-mail option that hit Sept. 1.

That decision, Hastings said, isn't going to change, calling it in the post today "necessary."

But, he added, the company is done with price changes.

On Sept. 18, Hastings posted an apology, of sorts, to subscribers for not doing a better job explaining the pricing changes or the decision to spin off the DVD-by-mail business. In it, he also announced the new name.

The explanation drew almost as much criticism as the original actions.

Since its highpoint in July, when share prices reached above $304, Netflix shares have dipped as low as $103.13 on Tuesday morning.

The big question, of course, is will the decision stop Netflix's subscriber drain, which has been estimated to be between 10 percent and 30 percent? That, of course, will become clearer after the company reveals its third quarter of 2011 results later this month.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this Netflix blog

Related articles:
Analyst: Netflix subscriber loss likely overblown
Netflix says TV episodes make up more than half of its streams
Netflix scores big content deal with Discovery Communications
Research contends 30% of Netflix subscribers could cancel
Scrambling Netflix CEO Hastings apologizes, renames DVD-by-mail biz 'Qwikster'

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