One of the biggest stories this week has been the announcement from Netflix that it would be splitting its streaming and DVD options. The streaming business is to remain named Netflix while the DVD-by-mail business is to be renamed Qwikster. Yup, straight out of 1999. Be glad it’s not Qwikstr a la Flickr, at least. “We chose the name Qwikster,” explains an apologetic Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix, “because it refers to quick delivery.” This came on the heels of Netflix’s faux pas of doubling the subscription price to charge for streaming and DVDs separately but without much of an explanation or warning. It’s also a testament to the difference each of the two deliveries represent: With DVDs you can get any movie imaginable, with streaming you get an almost laughable fraction of those choices. Yes, you can get it now but that now is usually a movie from the 1980s that nobody wants to see now — except maybe Robocop. I digress. The division makes strategic sense in a way, you don’t want people comparing the two delivery systems, especially when streaming is mired in godknowswhat lockdowns with movie and TV studios so creating two separate brands might be able to establish an apples vs. oranges comparison where people stop questioning the two services of one company and instead question two separate companies: Not Netflix vs. Netflix but Netflix vs. Qwikster.
Both the name and the logo are painfully reminiscent of the late 1990s dot com boom. A silly name with such a ridiculous spelling that it makes Syfy and Cloo look like the authors of the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Sure, it’s probably a breeze to trademark it but so would be Peenoz, that doesn’t mean it should be chosen. The logo isn’t as annoying as the name. There are a few salvageable traits about it, like the nice “Q” which could become a cool monogram-ish thing to use. The “i” with it’s speedy tittle like a dog sticking his or her head out of the window is a bit too obvious and I don’t get why the tittle and stick are connected. To its credit the wordmark does look “quick” and it’s the polar opposite of Netflix’s logo but it will take a few years for people to get used to seeing this new logo on the famous red envelopes.