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Netflix’s Hastings explains the Qwikster U-turn

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Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, admitted to the New York Times’ Andrew Goldman that the company needs to “take a few deep breaths.”

In an interview, Hastings said that the company “simply moved too quickly” with its decision to spin-off its DVD business and rename it Qwikster. The company reversed that decision just under a month after it was announced, and before the new service ever launched.

Hastings told Goldman that the company made the decision without considering how attached people were to Netflix’s brand and services. He also reiterated that the company won’t be too hurt by the end of its streaming deal with Starz, pointing out that Netflix has been steadily adding more titles. He also pointed to the upcoming 2013 deal with DreamWorks.

Given the backlash, has Hastings been thinking at all about resigning from the company he created? “No, not for a second,” he said in the interview, urging customers and shareholders to look at Netflix’s history as a whole.

The company has some large opportunities ahead of it. Netflix recently began producing its own original content and announced an outside-the-U.S. partnership with Facebook. But, Hastings said, Netflix isn’t trying to put content creators such as HBO out of business, just compete with them for customers’ attention.

The streaming video site has also been beefing up its presence in D.C., The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang reported last week, adding two people to its government relations team. Netflix has been lobbying to reform the Video Privacy Protection Act — which prevents rental services from sharing information about their customers — and has argued against data caps imposed by Internet service providers.

Related stories:

Netflix, DreamWorks sign a deal

Starz cuts ties with Netflix

Netflix abandons separate DVD, streaming businesses

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