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Netflix Separates Its Sites for DVDs & Streaming, But Will It Improve Anything?

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By Lindsay Sakraida, dealnews Features Director

A few weeks ago, dealnews addressed the Netflix pricing changes by laying out the alternative streaming options. Our conclusion was that, as far as on-demand online entertainment goes, Netflix is still the best option around. And according to this morning's announcement, that may be all Netflix will offer in the future (technically speaking, that is).

That's because the Netflix CEO published a statement yesterday that described a future plan to divide its DVD and media streaming services further by placing them on two completely separate web sites. DVD users, meet Qwikster, described as "launching soon." Streaming users, don't get excited: It's still Netflix for you.

It seemingly shouldn't be more than a name change for anyone completely split among the services; if you're part of the 11% of our voters who claimed they would keep DVDs only, you'll just have to change your bookmarks. (You'll also be able to rent video games, with an upgrade.) But for the 16% that said you're keeping DVDs in addition to streaming, the separation could be tedious as the queues between the two won't be integrated. It's also unclear if you can view a title's DVD and streaming availability simultaneously, which might mean jumping between the two to view your options.

We suppose the logic is this: If the services are separate, then the new pricing scheme doesn't seem as batty. But surely Netflix doesn't think its customers will just forget that they used to have one glorious combined plan. Since our last piece brought on heated discussion and epic voting, we thought we'd throw this development out to our deal-seeking readers once again.

Image credit: Kate Bingamen-Burt via Flickr

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
Commenter
I think this move points toward them wanting to shed the DVD business in the near future. By separating them they can sell off Qwikster wihtout having to wrangle over the Netflix trademark that they surely want to retain.
Guri1000
Well I already canceled my dvd subscription and when my subscription gets close to running out for this month, I'm going to cancel streaming.  I've decided that tivo is my best option because netflix really doesn't offer many tv shows I want to watch.  We went back to renting at redbox and now recording on tivo.

Great deal on tivo if you use an antenna.  $9.99 a month.  Code is antenna when you activate it.  I only paid $50 for my refurbished tivo premier thanks to dealnews!

While we are dumping on netflix.  When you cancel your subscription, they cancel it immediately.  If you just paid your bill for the month, don't expect to get even a penny back.  So wait until right before your monthly bill is due to cancel it.
hgerald
I don't like the split. Now, I have to search for movies in two locations, maintain two queues, etc, whereas until now, I could look for movies in one place, and then see if the movie was available on DVd, Blu-ray, or streaming, and decide howI wanted it delivered. With the recent price hikes, that's now two strikes against Netflix. Just my $0.02 worth.
Timbo Slice
I'm staying with both. I can't help but think that this newfound "over the barrel" status of Netflix is going to force them acquire movies and shows with higher acclaim (HBO, hopefully). This exodus has them cowering, so I'll hold on for a few more months. Plus, for a video gamer this deal could be worth it in the meantime. I do hate rebranding as damage control, though. It's supremely pathetic, but corporations never seem to grasp that. I'd like to think they had this alternative route planned the whole time, but "Quikster?"
FalconX2
I don't see streaming surpassing actual DVD rental due to so many bandwidth limits many ISPs are putting in place, but machines like Redbox will quickly take over the market in physical rentals. I only use Netflix for streaming and get DVDs via Redbox machines if I want to rent something. If it isn't on Netflix, and no longer available in Rebox, it is probably cheap enough on Amazon I can just buy it.
whiz
I'm thinking, that they(Netflix) are thinking, that while they are taking the heat(loss of customers) for the price splitting they may as well pile on the next phase (service splitting) and let their PR money do double duty.
ethanvyce
I really am not looking forward to managing two queues. I am keeping both formats, but it sucks. Not sure where they are headed with this move. Even if they are planning on eventually phasing out of DVDs, couldn't they just say "BTW no more DVDs."? Unless they plan on selling the Qwikster entity at some point.
Foil
It's amazing how fast things change, two months ago I was looking for a deal on a wide-screen TV to put up in my office.  I wanted it to connect wireless to Netflix for streaming.  Two months later I am no longer a Netflix customer and don't care if wireless is an option on a TV.  I imagine this move is going to hurt TVs with wireless features.
krzysztof_98
I think what's happening is that Netflix knows the end of DVD movie rentals is coming; however, gaming DVDs might still be around. Their idea is probably that in 5 or so years, DVDs will no longer be really used for movies; we'll just be able to stream Blu-Ray quality DVDs through our amazing 5G - 6G ... 10G networks (probable).
So, as the 'movie' DVD is phased out, all that remains is the 'game' DVD. However, since Netflix has always been synonymous with 'movies', there's no reason to confuse these two (hence the idea to split these). So they're seperating Netflix to continue to represent movies, albeit through internet streaming. Qwikster will still rent movies, but they're moving that to be a gaming rental only in the foreseeable future.
This is my fearless prediction, and fearless assumption of their business model plan.
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