Netflix Is Qwikly Making Enemies
My vote for the most stressful job in the second half of 2011 (so far) would have to be whoever is in charge of Public Relations at Netflix.
Everyone’s favorite movie streaming service has been in the news quite a bit the past few months, and it has been for all the wrong reasons. To make matters worse, they aren’t doing anything to help themselves. They continue to dig themselves into a bigger hole with every announcement and decision that they make.
Here is a list of four things Neflix has recently done wrong and my two cents on the situation:
Even though many people were upset about the price increase, I believe it was a great idea for Netflix… they just handled the situation very poorly.
Over the summer, Netflix released a statement announcing that by September 1st, memberships would no longer cost the standard $9.99. The new pricing plan split the streaming and the DVD-by-mail services into two pricing categories, costing $7.99 each. Therefore, if you wanted to keep the same service, you would be expected to pay 60% more.
No reasons. No numbers. No other statements. Just a price hike. As you can imagine, people were thrilled (am I right Netflix users?).
I think the price hike was justified. Each service is different from one another and needed its own revenue to help support its functions. Also, Netflix was in a great position to increase their price. They were increasing membership dramatically while competitors like Blockbuster were filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Aside from that, the price hike would still make Netflix cheaper than Blockbusters DVD-by-mail service and, if you watch enough movies, cheaper than Redbox, especially when you consider late fees.
If only Netflix had explained this earlier, they would not have to make this next move…
This HORRIBLE video
Why do I think this video is terrible? Two reasons:
- You shouldn’t have to release an apology about something that was announced by a press release. That’s what the press release is for. It should be detailed enough so Netflix would never be in a position where it would need to apologize.
- Qwikster? Seriously? Oh, and I have only just begun with this one…
Not only did Netflix upset customers with a price increase, they now were telling customers that they would be joining HP by spinning off a major part of their business: DVD-by-mail service.
What did this entail? This meant that customers would now have to access two separate websites to organize their movies… yet, pay the same company at the end, but on two different bills. Exactly, it makes no sense. Oh, and it only got worse….
As with any announcement, many people hit the web to see what others opinons are of the news. Many of those people went to Twitter, where they found out a Qwikster account already existed. Unfortunately for Netflix, it wasn’t their account…
In case you can’t tell, that is Elmo smoking pot. Great job Netflix! Not only do they need to learn how to write press releases, they need to learn about social media… which is terrible because they are a digital company. To all those reading, PR 101 tip: secure the name of your company on social media platforms before others do. If you aren’t able to do so, try to resolve the issue somehow before making an announcement.
Netflix did a terrible job covering up this error by doing and saying nothing. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, they found a way…
Well… that was qwik…
Netflix announced yesterday that it was abandoning Qwikster and keeping Netflix as one service. CEO Reed Hastings wrote on Netflix’s blog, “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.” … Really? You just figured that out?
This lead to many customers being satisfied and a large number of blogs/ news websites using corky titles replacing the word ‘quick’ with ‘qwik’ (yea, I jumped on that bandwagon).
However, I looked at it differently. This was just another move that could have been prevented. Where was Netflix market research that made the decision in the first place? Where was Neflix public relations trying to reassure customers as to why this was a good move? Where was any Netflix representative trying to promote how this made sense at all? They weren’t anywhere.
Let’s not forget what Reed Hastings said at the end of his video: “I just want to say again how sorry I am in the way we handled the communication around these big changes.” They obviously didn’t communicate with their customers to see if they would like splitting their services into two websites/ companies.
We have all just witnessed a modern, and short, version of the ‘New Coke’ diaster. Whether or not Netflix can recover from its stock price dropping close to two-thirds in less than three months is something we are going to have to keep an eye out for. Until then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…
Have a question about social media, digital media, technology, electronics, Google, or other related topics? For quality answers better than you will find in a simple online search, just Ask JFlo.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane… oh, it’s just the iPhone 4S… whatever.
To all those who have been waiting for the iPhone 5 for months, you better start waiting longer because it doesn’t exist…. yet.
Yesterday was Apple’s first keynote with Tim Cook as CEO, and there was quite a bit of speculation coming into it. Weeks before the meeting, people expected a new iPhone 5. Then there were discussions that the iPhone 5 would be thinner, have a wider screen, and be 4G capable. Then rumors surfaced that the iPod Classic and Nano would be discontinued. Then there were rumors of Sprint getting the iPhone 5. Then there was no iPhone 5, only an iPhone 4S. Then rumors went around that Facebook might finally have an iPad app…. And that is not even half the rumors I read about.
So what are my thoughts on yesterdays’s announcements? I will give you the key points about the other announcements at this keynote and then dive into details about the iPhone 4S, and my predictions of Apple’s future phone development. (NOTE: Basically every link moving forward will direct you to a Mashable.com article. They had the best articles, so by no means did I favor their articles… even though they are my favorite tech & gadget blog)
So much for discontinuing the iPod Nano. Not only did they improve the Nano to keep track of your exercise with Nike’s fitness program, it is now going after the watch market (Rolex, beware). Those who did not follow yesterdays announcement must be lost, but I’m not joking. The new iPod Nano can be fashioned as a watch with 16 different digital clock interfaces (including Mickey Mouse on the right). So much for a dead product…
iOS 5 launch
So when Apple was discussing iOS 5, those who watched the WWDC began to wonder, “Is any of this new information?” Regardless, the much anticipated iOS 5 update is set to be released on October 12th for free. This upgrade will be available for all devices, and will thus create the iCloud. No more wires needed as the iCloud will now sync all your Apple products together. iOS 5 also has many new features (none that were new to this keynote) that you can read about here.
This one is pretty self explanitory. So if you are one of those people who like to use a great product with a horrible service, by all means, get the iPhone on Sprint. In my mind, that is like buying a Maserati and living in the worst neighborhood possible (*cough*Camden, NJ*cough*).
No, that is not a typo. The iPhone 3S is now free, while the iPhone 4 is now only $99. So if you are looking for a bargain, you can’t really go wrong with these cheap phones!
Out of nowhere, Apple has created an app that will let you create your own greeting cards with 21 different designs. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, Apple takes it one step further. Instead of just e-cards, you can have Apple print them on quality paper and mail them to anyone you want in the world. The cost: $2.99 domestic, $4.99 international. Yes, that is cheaper than a card at the store, not to mention this price includes postage! Oh and I can’t forget to mention that you will get a push notification once your letter is mailed (US only).
I honestly believe this was the sleeper at this keynote. Hallmark better have been paying attention because they have a new competitor that came out of nowhere.
So what exactly is the iPhone 4S? Basically, its iPhone 4 2.0. It has many new features, but has the exact same body. Here is a list of the major upgrades that will come with this phone:
- This is now a global phone that can support international calls.
- The phone will come in black AND white,
- There will be an 8 megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p HD video. This is pretty powerful for a phone camera, making it one of the best available.
- iOS 5 will be included.
- A new Find My Friends app will be included: like Google Latitude, you can share access with anyone you want to so each of you can see where you are located based on your iPhone location (creepy, I know…).
- Double the power, double the speed… iPhone 4S will have an A5 chip, which is the same processor on the iPad. However, there was no mention of 4G.
- Siri - Apples news Voice Assistant: This new program lets you speak to your iPhone different commands to follow (such as calling people or searching something on the internet). It also supports text-to-speech, which means it can read to you as well.
- The iPhone 4S is available for pre-order on October 7 and ships on October 14th. It will also be available in-store on October 14th.
What is yet to come: iPhone 5
So yes, there is no iPhone 5, but it will come eventually. What it will bring is a mystery, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun and speculate based on Apple tendencies and previous rumors. So here is a run down of what I think the future of the iPhone might look like:
- No new phone until WWDC 2013, which typically happens in the summer months (June)… My guess: Release date - August 2013
- It will be thinner, have a wider screen, a curved back, and 4G capabilities, all on top of a computer like processor
- It will look sleeker with its curves and glossy surface. Click here to see the 10 best mockups of the iPhone 5.
- It will continue to be available in black and white
- There will be something else that will once again redesign the phone as we know it.. but none of us will know what it is
I know the last bullet is vague, but Apple is always recreating products. That is all I can predict. Maybe none of those happen and Apple creates a phone new product to market… we won’t know until Tim Cook takes the stage again.
One more thing…
I have some advice for the new CEO Tim Cook… NEVER SAY “One more thing…” AT A TECH MEETING!!! People will take you literally and think you have one more “thing.” Towards the end of the announcement, everyone got excited that Apple would actually have a point for this keynote. Bloggers and journalists everywhere were already pretty disappointed to being with, so they were only let down more when they found out there wasn’t “one more thing.”
My Final Thoughts
Apple had a pointless meeting that could have been announced through a simple press release. I’m not alone with these thoughts. Many bloggers and influential tweeps shared their disappointment on the web. It is no surprise that Apple’s stock dropped 5% immediately after the announcement. Regardless, the iPhone 4S is still already considered one of the best phones on the market without it even being available yet. If you need a new phone now and like the iPhone, go ahead and get it. However, if you think you can wait, just hold off until the new iPhone 5… whenever that is.
Before I could finish this post, a new iPhone 5 rumor has already surfaced. Could the iPhone 5 with LTE 4G make its debut this spring? If so, my guesses would be wrong already…