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800,000 abandon Netflix

  |   Oct. 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM
NEW YORK, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said the U.S. in-home movie supplier moved "too fast" in the third quarter and, consequently, lost business.

The firm's third-quarter report details Netflix's self-inflicted damage.

For the first time in years, the firm lost customers with 800,000 subscribers bailing out, CNNMoney reported Monday.

The drama began when Netflix suddenly announced it would separate billing of its movie-by-mail service and its Internet movie streaming business, which meant that a $10-per-month bill suddenly became $16 per month.

Customers were outraged and said so in plenty of online postings. Netflix then pushed the error further by announcing it would separate its two businesses: Netflix, which would cover its movie-by-mail trade and Qwikster, an Internet movie streaming business.

But the howling did not stop as customers realized they would now be paying two bills instead of one.

The simplicity of Netflix was unraveling and customers were fleeing.

"Consumers value the simplicity Netflix has always offered and we respect that," Hastings said recently. "There is a difference between moving quickly -- which Netflix has done very well for years -- and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case."

To compound the errors, Netflix then canceled the Qwikster plans and said it would keep the current structure as is.

In a letter explaining the third-quarter debacle, Hastings wrote, "The last few months … have been difficult for shareholders, employees, and most unfortunately, many members of Netflix."

"We've hurt our hard-earned reputation, and stalled our domestic growth," he said.

Topics: Netflix
© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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