Netflix launches Facebook integration and CEO blames Canada for Qwikster blunder

Yesterday was a big day for Netflix in Canada.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings hit the stage at Facebook’s f8 developer conference to announce that Netflix users will soon be able to see what streaming videos their Facebook friends have been watching, but those of us in the U.S. will have to wait.

The Facebook integration will start rolling out in Canada and Latin America before the end of September. Once available, subscribers will only need to connect to their Facebook accounts from Netflix’s webpage.

While the early adopter Facebook status is a coup for Canadians, Hastings went on to blame Canada for Netflix’s decision earlier this week to split its original DVD rental business into a separate subsidiary called Qwikster.

“It’s all the Canadians’ fault,” Mr. Hastings said jovially in an interview Thursday, when asked what made him decide to hive off the DVD business under a new brand called Qwikster. It’s a decision that earned the company plenty of attention – and some scorn for the new strategy – early this week.

“We launched in Canada to see how would streaming-only perform? Is broadband good enough that streaming only, without DVD, is a good enough product to catch on?” Mr. Hastings said.

“We launched streaming-only in the U.S., which we did because of Canada, and that took off really fast. Those two things made us say, DVD’s a great business but it’s a different business. And we should put it in a separate brand, in a subsidiary called Qwikster.”

Ironically this all took place on Netflix’s first anniversary of their Canadian launch that included a fake crowd at a Toronto event.