Netflix Shuttering Its Original DVD-By-Mail Business In End Of Era
Netflix said Tuesday that it’s closing down its original DVD-by-mail business, marking the end of an era as it focuses on retooling its streaming offerings including a new ad-supported plan.
“To everyone who ever added a DVD to their queue or waited by the mailbox for a red envelope to arrive: thank you,” CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a blog post today titled “Netflix DVD – The Final Season.”
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The last discs will be mailed out September 29, and must be returned by October 27. Final bills will go out in August. Service to subscribers with DVD and streaming accounts won’t be affected.
“After an incredible 25-year run, we’ve made the difficult decision to wind down at the end of September. Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members, but as the DVD business continues to shrink, that’s going to become increasingly difficult. Making 2023 our final season allows us to maintain our quality of service through the last day and go out on a high note,” Sarandos said.
“Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming. From the beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered: the wide variety of the titles and the ability to binge watch entire series. DVDs also led to our first foray into original programming — with Red Envelope Entertainment titles including Sherrybaby and Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion.”
“We feel so privileged to have been able to share movie nights with our DVD members for so long, so proud of what our employees achieved and excited to continue pleasing entertainment fans for many more decades to come.”
“To everyone who ever added a DVD to their queue or waited by the mailbox for a red envelope to arrive: thank you,” Sarandos wrote.
The mail rental business was launched by founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in 1998, and it still has some diehard fans.
Randolph left the company in 2002. Hastings, the longtime CEO, segued to an executive chairman role last fall.
The news comes the day Netflix releases first-quarter earnings. It also eulogized its DVD biz in the shareholder letter that accompanies the numbers, thanking “all our employees over the years that worked so hard to build the booster rocket that got streaming to a leading position.”
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