While the rest of the media was busy roasting Netflix last week for its sudden steep price increase, Duff McDonald at Fortune instead hails CEO Reed Hastings for smartly reading his market and what they will pay for his service - and for pushing his customers into the plan that best services Netflix.
And those that are complaining need to get with the program anyway. More than half of Netflix's new 2011 subscribers are streaming only. The company has been investing heavily in new content, going so far as to produce some of their own, and the selection gets better by the day. As soon as Hollywood's content producers finally admit that Netflix has them all over a barrel and concede to stream their top quality and recent content, no one's going to want DVDs anymore anyway. So he's a little early to the party. But Hastings is usually early. And this time, he's once again a step ahead of everyone else, headed into the future.
Many columnists will occasionally zig when the others zag just to be provocative - but this comes across as a genuine appreciation of a CEO who understands that his best business strategy won't be great for public relations - and picks the future over a few days of bad twitter traffic and some nasty headlines.
Netflix handled the situation exactly right. They made their case, took their heat and waited for validation.