Netflix is dead; long live Netflix. That's the message from CEO Reed Hastings, who announced in a blog post tonight that Netflix's DVD-by-mail business will be split off and renamed "Qwikster" in "a few weeks," while Netflix will focus on streaming video.  Hastings says the move is required to clearly delineate the DVD business from the streaming business, which will both reduce consumer confusion and allow each company to focus on the different cost structures and marketing of its particular business. Although Hastings is emphatic in saying Qwikster will be the same DVD service with a different name, the split itself is total: Netflix and Qwikster will maintain separate user accounts with separate movie ratings, and they'll each bill users independently. Qwikster will also have its own CEO, ex-Netflix exec Andy Rendich.

Hastings says Netflix is set to announce some "substantial" additions to its streaming catalog after the transition, while Qwikster will now offer Xbox 360, Wii, and PS3 games for an additional fee "similar" to the existing Blu-ray upgrade fee. Whatever the disc, the iconic red envelopes will remain, but they'll now bear the Qwikster logo. That's the end of an era -- and with the proven DVD business now independent, it's up to Reed Hastings and Netflix to prove that streaming can be an equal success. Check a video introduction to Qwikster after the break.

Source: Netflix blog