If you haven't already heard, the internet is afire with the amazingly ordinary news of a mere re-branding. Netflix's DVD-by-mail offering will now be called Qwikster. And I'm going to swim against the tide here and call Reed Hastings a genius.
Why? Because the internet is afire with the amazingly ordinary news of a mere re-branding. Last week, Netflix disappointed everyone except the short sellers by cutting their subscriber forecasts because, in an absolute shocker, raising prices wasn't too popular. Their stock price is taking a big hit, reflecting the fact that it was built on hype mostly.
So Hastings came out today and apologized for not communicating well, and oh by the way we're renaming the DVD product. In one email at exactly the right moment on a slow news Monday, he managed to spread the word 'Qwikster' to the front page of what seems like every English-based news organization in the known universe. As I write this, it's the top story on CNN. It's a bit of journalistic jujitsu - Netflix's bad news feeding frenzy has turned into a free orgy of product name recognition. He's playing the media like an alto sax.
And did I mention the price hike didn't get rolled back? Subscribers may grow slower, but revenues - hmmm...
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