Netflix Drops DVD Queue From Streaming Devices17 Jan, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Seeking to further cement itself as a streaming company, Netflix Jan. 17 said it is dropping the ability for subscribers to add titles to their disc queue from connected devices.
Going forward, Netflix subscribers will only be able to manage their DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental queues from the Los Gatos, Calif.-based online DVD rental pioneer’s website.
“We’re doing this so we can concentrate on offering you the titles that are available to watch instantly,” said Jamie Odell, director of product management at Netflix, in a post. “Further, providing the option to add a DVD to your queue from a streaming device complicates the instant watching experience and ties up resources that are better used to improve the overall streaming functionality.”
Netflix, which asserts that the majority of its 16 million subs stream content versus renting discs, continues to marginalize packaged media. It recently added $1 to monthly service plans for discs while launching a lower-priced streaming-only plan.
The moves have not gone unnoticed by subscribers, many of whom noted their displeasure with the change on Netflix's blog site (http://blog.netflix.com).
“You're just killing off DVD subscriptions one-step at a time,” wrote Jason. “First the price hike, Blu-ray surcharge, and now this. When optical media goes, so do I.”
“You ought to leave this up to your subscribers to weigh in on,” wrote b.dsign. “I think this is a totally foolish move on your part. I like to be able to add movies to my DVD queue from my iPhone.”
“Booo! Yet again, Netflix doesn't seem to get their audience,” wrote John Kusters. “Please reconsider.”
Analyst Richard Greenfield with BTIG Research in New York agreed Netflix’s move would undermine sub loyalty. All the more puzzling considering by-mail rental subscription services represented 41% of the home video rental market in the third quarter of 2010, according to The NPD Group.
“I don’t understand the rationale,” Greenfield said in an email.