The CEO of Netflix said he was sorry for mishandling a recent price increase that caused customers to cancel the service in droves. But the apology was drowned out by a decision that angered subscribers all over again.
The company will split into two services — one with an odd new name that offers the familiar discs in red envelopes and another for online streaming of TV shows and movies.
The DVD service will be called Qwikster, a name that is supposed to signify a commitment to fast service but quickly became an object of ridicule Monday on the Internet. The streaming service will keep the Netflix name.
Netflix, which had 24.6 million U.S. subscribers at the end of June and is the nation’s largest video subscription service, redefined home entertainment over the past decade with its DVDs by mail. Now it’s trying to prepare for the day when watching movies on a disc goes the way of driving to the video store to pick up a VHS tape.
But lately, it has bungled the transition. The company has lost half its market value since July, when it announced that customers who wanted DVDs and streaming had to pay for them separately — and pay up to 60 percent more.
The decision to rebrand the best-known part of Netflix’s business left some experts wondering whether CEO Reed Hastings is losing the touch that established him as an influential figure in technology and entertainment.
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