Netflix CEO Turns to Humor as Investors Grow Cold

Paul Lilly

With all that's been going on with Netflix lately, some people think Reed Hastings has lost his marbles. Others think the CEO lost his soul and/or question if he ever had one to begin with. That's because there's a lot of anger out there over Netflix's recent price hike followed by the semi-sudden separation of its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster, a completely new company that frees Netflix to concentrate solely on streaming. As a result, Netflix is losing customers and investor support, but the company head hasn't lost his sense of humor.

"In Wyoming with 10 investors at a ranch/retreat. I think I might need a food taster. I can hardly blame them," Hastings posted to his Facebook wall.'

You can subscribe to Reed Hastings' Facebook profile, but unless you're on his Friends list, you can't comment. That would explain why there are less than a dozen comments, most of which are in the "hang in there" variety. Compare that to his blog post apologizing for past communication efforts (or lack thereof) and announcing the Qwikster spin-off, which has so far drawn more than 26,000 comments, many of them scathing.

Humor is one way to cope with the situation, but it's not the only way. Jena McGregor wrote a piece in The Washington Post that illustrates ways Hastings could go about patching things up with an angry customer base, things like offering existing customers a few free months of service to encourage them to stick around, or give them a way to manage two accounts (Netflix and Qwikster) in one place. She also points out that Netflix's Twitter account has been eerily silent since announcing the change, and after acknowledging a "need to be extra communicative."

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