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Converting to a streaming-only business isn’t easy, as Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) discovered Monday when the company’s blog was bombarded by complaints over its decision to remove the ability to add to DVD queues from connected devices.
Jamie O’Dell, director of product management at Netflix, may want to get an intern to start his car tomorrow after offering the following gem of corporate gobbledygook on the Netflix blog:
We’re doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly. Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your Queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality.
Though the ‘Add to DVD Queue’ option will still be available at Netflix.com, that didn’t stop hundreds from voicing considerable displeasure that they can’t use everything from their iPhone to their PS3 to manage their queue.
“With all sorts of streaming devices out there the computer is becoming more and more obsolete, this seems like a step backwards,” noted one concerned sub named Luke.
Raged another sub named Hal, “Sorry Netflix, I love you but this is idiotic. Hire some developers that know who has the premium accounts and who just has streaming access. It should all go by log in. This is a dumb move.”
What many subscribers called out Netflix on was its gradual dismantling of its disc business as more and more of its video delivery gets devoted to streaming. With its recently altered subscription model clearly steering customers toward digital-only delivery, Netflix is forced to undergo the painful process of alienating the core customer base that may still want to hang onto discs and don’t want to be weaned off. “When the optical media goes, so do I,” pledged Jason.
Netflix needs to proceed with great caution in how it unwinds its disc business or risk losing a chunk of the subscribers on which it built its booming empire. The company would have probably been better off figuring just what new functionality they were going to bestow on their subscribers once they “untied” resources, but it’s too late to un-ring that bell.