Can Netflix Get Back Into DVD/Streaming Game?

Netflix has caught serious backlash over its recent breakup with Starz, price hikes and decision to divide the company into Netflix, the streaming company, and Qwikster, the DVD delivery company. With subscribers jumping ship and the company free falling on Wall Street, more trouble is coming: Blockbuster and Amazon are preparing to up their movie streaming games. Will Redbox be next?

With subscribers peeved and stocks crashing, Netflix is scrambling to find its footing. CEO Reed Hastings' even took to the net, posting an apology to users on Sunday, Sept. 18, along with a video (below) -- but it didn't help. Fans remain in a fury over changes to the company, giving Blockbuster just the opening it needs for Friday's big unveiling of their "Stream Come True," which they promise will be "the most comprehensive home entertainment package ever."

Netflix gives Blockbuster an opening

The trouble for Netflix started this summer, after the movie rental company lost its relationship with Starz and doubled the cost of their services: Instead of paying $10 a month for all-you-can-stream online movies and endless DVDs by mail, members were forced to buy two plans, each $8. The move was a money saver for those using only one service, but members taking advantage of both were hit with a $6 price hike.

With a backlash already heating up, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings took to the net. "I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation," he posted Sunday. "It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes."

"There are no pricing changes (we're done with that!)," he added later. "Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges."

The fact that Netflix and Qwikster will still cost the same didn't sooth angry subscribers, nor did the reveal that the split will allow Qwikster to take on video game rentals. Instead, the apology seemed to make members even angrier. With the Facebook responses to the post at almost 25,000 and Twitter afire over it, members are downright furious, expressing themselves with expletives, abuse and sarcasm.

Blockbuster: A stream come true?

Talk about timing. With customers turning on Netflix, Blockbuster -- which filed chapter 11 and then became a division of Dish Network -- is ready to give movie lovers a new place to stream.

The move rental battle kicks up a notch

When the backlash first heated up, the rental spot offered a special deal to lure Netflix expats over. Now, they've announced a big press conference for Friday, dubbing it a "A Stream Come True" and promising "the most comprehensive home entertainment package ever."

Netflix played a big part in Blockbuster's demise, along with Redbox. Now that Blockbuster has Dish behind it and is getting into the streaming market, however, it could once again be anybody's game. We''ll have to see what Friday brings.

Down the road, Amazon is also sure to expand their video streaming service, which is unlimited for Prime users and also works on a per-rental basis. The megasite is preparing to launch a video-friendly tablet, which means they'll have to answer the call for more streaming.

The Netflix apology

Reed Hastings, Netflix Co-Founder and CEO, and Andy Rendich, CEO of Qwikster, talk about the changes, the backlash and the future. Those still on the fence about the drama at Netflix, or just confused, might find some clarity:

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Tags: amazon prime

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Comments on "Netflix vs Blockbuster: A streaming war is coming"

Robert September 03, 2012 | 3:50 PM

Blockbuster streaming is terrible. They Offer movies in HD. Thats a laugh, try it. It will freeze up and revert to lower quality. What good is a HD TV watching low quaility movies, not to mention the difference in sound. Get it right Blockbuster. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and most others that stream make sure the bandwidth and Cache is there.

Laura Cox November 20, 2011 | 6:21 PM

Blockbuster streaming is absolutely awful. We have tried two different movies on two different nights and both have had horrible caching problems and both have frozen. Customer service has been delayed and ruined the viewing experience. Do not rent streaming movies from Blockbuster. Their technology isn't cooked yet. Netflix -- while limited in selection -- at least works.

The Future October 10, 2011 | 11:47 AM

This is why I use Mixvid free movies free games free music. you cant beat that!

Jeremy T October 08, 2011 | 6:54 PM

Just to top it off, their service is down, when you call netflix you get told via a recording that they are having a high call volume and to call back later, then it disconnects you, what bull. F off netflix!!

marc w October 04, 2011 | 6:20 PM

I switched last week to just netflix streamiing. After finally reading the E-mail and calling them up for clarification, cause it sounded like there was no change in price. I get some BS about how the secretary can't proof read. You think I'm that stupid to think a letter like that was not looked over and written on purpose like that? Netflix I'm out I have verizizon and can get Starz with on demand and see the same movies. Which you will not be having soon when you split from them. My kids can do without the cartoons and disgusting anamie. Then your going to charge extra for games. So instead of shoving it up my ass let me shove it up yours. That extra money I can't pay you goes to my taxes and an increase to cross a bridge into Manhattan. Goodbye Netflix

Damon September 28, 2011 | 8:22 PM

I just cancelled my Netflix subscription and I plan on getting the Blockbuster Movie Pass when it is released! I am really excited about this package. I know that the Blockbuster Movie Pass give customers a massive selection of DVDs and games by mail. Since it if offered by DISH Network (who is also my employer), there are 20 channels that you’ll get in addition to the thousands of movie and shows you can stream to your TV or PC! Plus, with DISH Network, you have the option to take your channels with you wherever and whenever you want with TV Everywhere. Blockbuster also has many stores that you can exchange the DVD’s at and Blu-Rays are included! For all that, I think that $10 is such a great price. I can’t wait until the Blockbuster Movie Pass comes out!

Mike September 24, 2011 | 2:24 PM

Talk about asking someone to throw dirt on your own grave. What was that video? What does Netflix and "Qwikster" think that they accomplished with that video. Are the CEO's of this company really that blind to what people are actually angry about, or are they just intentionally ignoring it? We are mad about your out of nowhere price hike, we are mad about the second rate movies you charge for on your streaming service. Separate pricing for games? I can only imagine what you will be charging for that. I am a former Netflix subscriber, in actuality my account is currently on hold, but I will be canceling it in about ten minutes. It's looking as if Blockbuster will once again sit atop the movie rental word. Your company had this firmly within your grasp and you only have yourself to blame for your crumbling stocks and angry customers. Either fix it, or shut up. We don't want apologies, we want a great movie service.

Seth September 23, 2011 | 12:37 AM

Lynn - Do you live in the stone age???? Almost every new TV has Internet Apps, XBOX, PLAYSTATION, ROKU, APPLE TV, BOXEE...... They all have streaming.. GET WITH TIMES OLD LADIE..

Joe Schierlitz September 22, 2011 | 4:20 PM

The bottom line on your video is not the point of separating the two services but that you raised the price 60%, not a few dollars at a time that people can live with. As far as streaming goes, there's nothing in there but low class, B rated movies. And as far as DVDs go, don't count them out just yet. There are a lot of people out there that can handle DVDs but not a computer or have high speed Internet connections and the ones that do are being charged extra for the band width they use. If a person wants to get the garbage you have on streaming they can go to Stars or Showtime, they can go to their cable service without paying extra band width. And then there is Red Box which has newer movies. An ex-subscriber, Joe

Lynn Cee September 20, 2011 | 4:49 PM

You are so right, and Dish Networks, the parent of recovering Blockbuster, is making all the right moves fast. Who would ever have predicted, even a few months ago, that Blockbuster would rise from near-death, but is — my local Blockbuster (Silicon Valley) is busier than ever, and the Blockbuster vending machines at the grocery store are always transacting. A lot of people don't want to stream everything and junk their not very old DVD equipment — enough time is spent at the computer.

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