We All Went Running Back to Netflix, And They're Still Going To Drop Mailing Us Discs ASAP

January 26, 2012


Since September, a thoughtless Netflix has asked us for more money, admitted they "messed up," threatened to split up, and once more asked us to forgive them, come back to the couch, sit down and finish off the finale of Battlestar Galactica. But at least 800,000 subscribers loved themselves too much to again accept one of Netflix's half-hearted apologies. They cancelled their service and consequently knocked Netflix stock prices down 75%.

But now, just a few months later, it seems many have been unable to resist CEO Reed Hastings' darling face peeking out from behind those red envelopes, and according to the New York Times, Netflix has already reclaimed 600,000 lost customers:

Netflix has regained almost as many customers as it lost following an unpopular price increase, signaling that the video subscription service is healing from its self-inflicted wounds.

Fourth-quarter figures released Wednesday show Netflix Inc. ended December with 24.4 million subscribers in the U.S., up from 23.8 million at the end of September. That gain of about 600,000 customers compares with the loss of 800,000 subscribers last summer after it raised its U.S. prices as much as 60 percent.

The uptick is a positive sign for Netflix after several months of upheaval battered its stock. The shares reversed course Wednesday, surging nearly 16 percent.

While it's nice for Netflix that everyone realized they needed access to Hoarders episodes more than they thought they did, it should be noted that the gain in streaming customers has largely been negated by the continued abandonment of the primitive system of mailing actual discs around. The Times continues:

Most of the streaming gains will be offset by cancellations of DVD-by-mail rental plans, which Netflix is gradually phasing out. Hastings believes discs are becoming increasingly antiquated as technology advances. Netflix predicted its DVD subscriptions will fall from 11.2 million in December to 9.7 million in March. The company lost 2.8 million DVD subscribers in the fourth quarter.

"We expect DVD subscribers to decline every quarter forever," Hastings explained, basically confirming that Qwikster was being set up as a fall guy the whole time.

So, bad news if you're still dependent on Netflix's by-mail service for filling your entertainment needs. On the other hand, it sounds like it will soon be great news if anyone plans to be in the market for 4,000 used copies of Crash.

Read More: netflix, news, reed hastings
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