Netflix, Qwikster: Two Sites, Two Queues
Business + Economy

Netflix, Qwikster: Two Sites, Two Queues

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Netflix is splitting into two companies — one for streaming and one for DVD rentals — in a few weeks. And while the services and prices won’t change, the company’s move could have a side effect that’s likely to annoy its customers: a bit of extra work.

One drawback of the split: “... the and Web sites will not be integrated,” said Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings in a company blog post. “So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or e-mail address, you would need to do it in two places.”

Hasting also said on his blog post that searches will not work across both sites. If a user can’t find a movie on Netflix, he or she will have to do another search for the film on Qwikster.

“We think the separate websites (a link away from each other) will enable us to improve both faster than if they were single websites,” Hastings wrote in response to comments from users, adding that the streaming and DVD queues are already “a click away” on the current site.

One bright spot in the company’s announcement is the promise of more content for both businesses. The newly relaunched Qwikster will have an optional upgrade for video games, setting it up to compete with other services such as Redbox and the game-only rental service Gamefly. Qwikster will offer Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 games, though Hastings did not mention if the company would also branch out into handheld titles. Netflix now offers users the option to rent Blu-Ray discs for $2 per month, but the company has not yet announced pricing for the video game upgrade.

Hastings also said that Netflix will see some substantial additions to its streaming content in the coming months. While it’s not clear what that content may be, the streaming service’s somewhat anemic selection has been cause for complaint, especially since the announcement that the company will end its deal with Starz. That agreement, which ends in February, will take eight percent of the company’s current streaming catalog offline.