Following its failure to separate its DVD and streaming businesses with its loud and unpopular Qwikster rebranding effort, Netflix has taken subtler tactics to segregate its two types of customers: buying up the domain DVD.com.
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Domain Name Wire noticed the registration information had changed on the domain, and a spokesperson has confirmed that Netflix indeed snatched up the URL. "Netflix cares about keeping DVD healthy, and this is just one small investment in keeping DVD healthy," a spokesperson told Domain Name Wire. From the looks of the name and the sounds of that comment, Netflix will do something DVD-related, possibly create a whole new site, with the URL.
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Netflix hasn't commented on the specifics, giving TechCrunch's Ingrid Lunden an even vaguer comment: "In the U.S. we look to provide a great experience for our members, those who have DVD only, streaming only and those who have both." But, ever since Qwikster failed, Netflix has continued, in quieter ways, to push the two subscription models away from one another. The company makes it pretty hard for anyone to sign up for DVD delivery and it no longer lets DVD-only subscribers rate movies on the main Netflix page, pushing them to another site. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has made clear that the company has different strategies for streaming and DVD. "DVD will do whatever it’s going to do," he said at the UBS media conference. "We’re going to try to not hurt it, but we’re not putting a lot of time and energy into doing anything particular around it." Buying a domain and relegating users to that site sounds like just the type of low energy plan Hastings wants.
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Update 3:22 p.m.: A Netflix spokesman has denied that the company will offload its DVD subscribers onto that site, telling AllThingsD's Peter Kafka the company bought it for "defensive reasons."