Monday, 3 October 2011

NETFLIX: dual branding or pricing problem?

Qwikster is for movies on DVD and Netflix is for streaming video content. This is quite different from Toyota and Lexus or Honda and Accura. It is more like Walmart and Sam's warehouse club. When Toyota decided to have the Lexus brand, the customers for each brand were different and the two brands prevented any confusion in the segmented market. Walmart and Sam's often serve the same customer on different occasions or different types of shopping trips. But at the heart to of this segmentation strategy is the fact that on any one occasion the customer visits only one store and so both assortment and pricing can be different at the stores.

Now let us turn to Netflix. The customer orders DVDs and streaming content on the internet and prefers a single website with a single sign in. She may even order both at the same time. The real problem for Netflix has been the flat price strategy. Adding streaming content to DVD's without rethinking pricing has landed the company in trouble. And what is more, it has lost control of its value proposition. Ideally, each time a person goes in for the streaming they should be charged a variable price. Or like the cell phone companies there could be tiered pricing with various options. There really does not seem to be any need for two brands. Netflix should learn from i-tunes which used to have a 99 cent a song pricing strategy and then changed it, for good and for better. A couple of years ago I discussed a paper at the QME conference and the question of uniform price for all songs was the topic. Of-course such a strategy is not a good one.

No comments: