Netflix Inc. is renaming its DVD mail service to Qwikster in a few weeks. It’s been a crazy month for the movie rental company that led to a CEO apology. The new service will also offer video games.
CEO Reed Hastings apologized to subscribers for the way the company communicated its decision to split the two services, which raised prices for those who want both.
The streaming business will continue to be called Netflix. Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements.
Qwikster will be the primary place to order DVD movie and game rentals by mail. The distinctive red envelopes that end up in customers’ mailboxes will now show a new name. It’s a risky move for the company and the amount of streaming content it offers is still far less than the number of DVDs in its catalog.
There is also growing competition from Hulu, Amazon, Coinstar’s Redbox kiosks and other services. Netflix could even alienate customers further by asking them to now deal with two separate websites and accounts instead of just one. It’s a new name for legacy customers and that could lead to further problems for the struggling company.
“I messed up,” the CEO wrote in a blog post Sunday night that was also emailed to subscribers. “Our view is with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail,” he added.
The changes come as the company faces increasing scrutiny from customers and shareholders over the decision announced in July to separate its mail order and Internet streaming services into two separate plans.
The change raised the prices for users who want both services, by as much as 60 percent for some. Moreover, Netflix lowered its U.S. subscriber forecast for the third quarter. It will be a matter of time before anyone knows if “Qwikster” was a good financial move for the company.