Rx Needed: Netflix Expected to Report Further Subscriber Losses Today, on the Heels of a Short, Dreadful Interview Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Gave The New York Times Last Week

Oct 24, 2011  •  Post A Comment

The impact of Netflix’s recent unpopular decisions — such as separating its DVD rental service from streaming and then reversing that plan — may be seen later today, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, when the company reports results, according to Bloomberg.

Netflix is expected to report 23.8 million U.S. subscribers as of Sept. 30, according to an estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. By comparison, that’s below the 24 million forecast by Netflix on Sept. 15 and would mean a loss of nearly 800,000 customers after the abandoned plan and a price hike, the story says. Netflix ended the second quarter with 24.6 million U.S. users, the piece notes.

The earnings report comes after a short, dreadful interview Netflix founder and CEO gave The New York Times last week.

A few excerpts:

Andrew Goldman of The New York Times: Last month, when announcing Qwikster, you apologized for the way Netflix handled its price hikes, writing, “In hindsight I slid into arrogance based upon past success.” But wasn’t introducing Qwikster the way you did the most arrogant move of all?

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings: No, I think it was just a mistake in underestimating the depth of emotional attachment to Netflix.

NY Times: [Y]ou really botched the handling of the DVD spinoff, Qwikster. In your recorded launch announcement, you flubbed your lines. You somehow neglected to secure the Qwikster Twitter handle. Then, facing a backlash from shareholders and consumers, you put the kibosh on the whole idea. Seriously, what’s the deal?

Hastings: Over the last couple of years, we’ve been moving toward streaming, doing the Starz deal, doing the Xbox deal. We simply moved too quickly, and that’s where you get those missed execution details. It’s causing, as you would expect, an internal reflectiveness. We know that we need to do better going forward. We need to take a few deep breaths and not move quite as quickly. But we also don’t want to overcorrect and start moving stodgily.

NY Times: I’m curious if you could have done any kind of research — or even a select-market rollout — that could have anticipated this?

Hastings: I don’t know of any Internet service that opens on a regional basis. Our focus-group work concentrated on trying to understand consumers’ perspectives on names other than Netflix.

We urge you to read the entire interview, which you can find if you click here.

Meanwhile, a few observations from us here at TVWeek. Hastings seems incredibly out of touch with the vast majority of his customers. Clear evidence of that is his continual insistence that the only thing Netflix has done wrong is that it’s "moved too quickly." Wrong answer!


  1. This man has single handedly wrecked what was an amazing service. I don’t understand why he is not being forced to step down before he does anymore damage!

  2. This man has single handedly wrecked what was an amazing service. I don’t understand why he is not being forced to step down before he does anymore damage!

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