Netflix just announced that it will be splitting its DVD-by-mail business into a separate company called Qwikster and you can be sure that the success of the Netflix mobile apps and devices like the Apple iPad played a large role in this decision.
Netflix will soldier on as a streaming-only service which makes a lot of sense, as nearly every device nowadays can get access to the streaming movie service. Qwikster (check out the non-Netflix owned Qwikster twitter account for some laughs) will have the the DVD-by-mail approach you’re used to but it will also include video games. Sadly, your old Netflix recommendations won’t be there and the separate business, which is still a part of Netflix, will have different billing systems and perhaps a different interface.
The decision was made because Netflix was always built with the idea that it would be a streaming company – hence the name – but the technology wasn’t there when the business got established. While I’m guessing most of the home usage of the streaming is through computers, video game systems and with Internet-connected televisions, the strength of the mobile apps had to play a part in this move.
Netflix is now available on the iPhone, most Android phones and on Windows Phone but I’m still not convinced it’s the most compelling experience to watch full-length movies on a 4 or 3.5-inch screen. But if you switch that app to an iPad or another mobile data-capable tablet and I think the mobile Netflix experience is way more interesting.
I’m still a big fan of Netflix no matter how the content is delivered but I sincerely hope that the streaming-only business really boosts its catalog. What about you guys and gals? Does this move upset you or is it expected and wanted?