Did Netflix Cancel Qwikster Because They Realize Real Movie Fans Still Need DVDs?

By Katey Rich 2011-10-10 12:44:15discussion comments
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Did Netflix Cancel Qwikster Because They Realize Real Movie Fans Still Need DVDs? image
When Netflix announced last month their plans to divide the company into two, it seemed like both a boneheaded business movie and a savvy look toward the future of how we watch movies at home. It seemed clear that Netflix wanted to focus all of their energy on streaming movies and TV shows, and to keep the DVD side of things out of their way, they invented Qwikster, the much-derided stepchild of the company that would ship you your DVDs but secretly wish you'd just get on board with streaming already. Given the way internet load speeds are picking up and more people are learning how to use Netflix/iTunes/Hulu on their TVs, it's only a matter of time before more people stream or rent their movies online than actually watch them on a physical format.

In that way, Netflix was looking toward the future-- and they probably still are, even given today's announcement that Qwikster is no longer happening, and they'll keep streaming and DVD rentals under the same roof. But I'm hoping it's not too naive to hope that this movie will extend the life of DVD rentals a little bit longer, not because I'm so attached to the unwatched rental of Hotel Rwanda I've had for three months, but because even given how fast streaming is growing, there's still a lot out there that you can't watch. Netflix as a streaming-only company might have been more convenient, but Qwikster would have had more content, a valuable enough asset that I was ready to jump through their ridiculous hoops and subscribe to both.

Think about it--not every movie that's ever been made is on DVD, but a whole lot of them are, and there's already a well-defined system in place for getting the movies printed on DVDs and into your house. Streaming licenses, on the other hand, are a whole mess of exclusive deals and rights management and negotiations, the necessary but irritating hurdles of navigating a new format. Netflix may be the biggest source for streaming content, but it's not the only one, and the more you rely on streaming only the more you limit yourself to whatever Netflix's lawyers could strike a deal for. You may be ready to ditch physical media entirely, but unfortunately, physical media isn't quite done with you.

With Netflix back in one piece, I feel much more confident about my ability to keep getting random movies on DVD from them-- at least as long as the format lasts. What do you guys think-- is it too idealistic to think that Netflix will continue to strongly support their awesome DVD rental program, or is this them recognizing that DVDs really are important to people like me? Vote in the poll below.

Did Netflix finally realize that DVDs are actually important?

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