Mother of mercy it's been a tough several weeks for blogging, which is why the first post in so long is a follow-up to my earlier fascination with Netflix and its business model, today featuring Tim Carmody of Wired's Epicenter blog.
The article attempts to make sense of the latest move by Netflix, which for the briefest moment was poised to seize the mantel of the "New Apple" that would force change on the hidebound entertainment industry but now seems to be just trying to stay alive.
The best part is the end, in which Carmody observes that if Netflix and Qwikster were separate businesses, the clamor would be for them to merge.
The fact is that if Netflix and Qwikster were already separate companies, each just as successful at their respective businesses as Netflix’s streaming and DVD businesses are now, they’d probably be talking about a merger today. We’d already call Qwikster “the Netflix of discs-by-mail,” or Netflix “the Qwikster of streaming video.”
After the merger, the two companies would complement each other’s offerings, synergize their brands, make subscription and queue management easier for subscribers, and use the extra resources to negotiate better deals for content. It would be all about bringing Netflix’s simplicity to Qwikster, or vice versa. All of the Wall Street/Silicon Valley logic would be pointing in the opposite direction.
Most of the rest of the post was a fairly conventional unpacking of the situation and why Reed Hastings was backed into this particular corner and how painful it would be to get out of. That last piece of meta-analysis shows how the media and business leaders are contrarian by nature and nothing will ever make them happy.