Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Netflix Customers Make History

It isn't often that customers have the opportunity to shape a company's direction as strongly as has happened at Netflix.

"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," said an email from Netflix to customers this week. "This means no change: one website, one account, one password…in other words, no Qwikster."

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and Netflix stayed on course. It would have continued to hemorrhage customers otherwise. This episode will become a business history case study, right along with the withdrawal of Coca-Cola's "New Coke" and other pivotal points in corporate history.

I'm not convinced that the July price change was necessary, but I'm glad to hear "we are now done with price changes." If nothing else, the company is emerging as a stronger corporate communicator: the email also informed streaming-only customers like me that we now have hundreds of new movies and more than 3,500 TV episodes to choose from. I'll be happy with one new addition that's as good as "Doc Martin."