Over the last year Netflix (s NFLX) has had an increasingly complicated relationship with its DVD business. The company separated its streaming-only and DVD-by-mail plans, announced that it was spinning off the business into a separate unit and naming it Qwikster, backtracked on those plans amidst customer revolt and, most recently, split the ratings that exist between its streaming and DVD titles — even when they’re viewed by the same customer.
All of that has resulted in Netflix scaring off a lot of its DVD-by-mail customer base. Some would argue that that’s the point — that Netflix believes so strongly that streaming is the future, that the company is willing to very quickly shed the most profitable part of its business.
Well, not so fast. In its latest schizophrenic move, Netflix acquired the domain DVD.com. Yes, it now owns the eponymous domain for the technology that it oh so wants to kill.
So why’d it buy the thing? Netflix VP of Corp Comms and all-around good guy Steve Swasey explains in one of his brilliantly terse email responses:
“Netflix cares about keeping DVD healthy, and this is just one small investment in keeping DVD healthy.”
For those who care, the DVD.com domain now forwards users to DVD.netflix.com, which again is the new DVD-only part of Netflix. But since Netflix really, really doesn’t want your DVD money and makes it incredibly hard even for existing subscribers to add the DVD-by-mail option to their existing subscriptions, I can’t see Netflix doing much with it.