Netflix Mails Its Final DVD As It Ends Postal Service

Netflix has ended a legacy service that has been running for the past 25 years, after its famous red-and-white envelopes made their final trip this week.

Back in April this year, Netflix had announced that it was winding down its DVD-by-post business – ending the service that it had started around 25 years ago (in 1998) to compete against Blockbuster Video Stores.

And now the Associated Press has reported that the DVD via post service will shut down, after its five remaining distribution centres in California, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey mail out their final discs on Friday. Customers will not need to post them back, as they get to keep the discs.

Postal DVDs

Netflix believes that its DVD postal service conic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home – and paved the way for the shift to its streaming service that began in 2007.

Netflix split its streaming service and DVD postal service into two separate units back in 2011. Netflix’s streaming business now boasts 238 million worldwide subscribers and its generates $31.5 billion in revenue per year.

The DVD service, in contrast, brought in just $146 million in revenue last year.

Back in 1998 when it first began the postal service, the first DVD Netflix shipped was the Tim Burton movie Beetlejuice on 10 March 1998.

Netflix earlier this year said it had shipped over 5.2 billion DVDs, with the most popular title being “The Blind Side” staring Sandra Bullock.

In total Netflix had 20 million subscribers to its DVD rental service, but now fewer than 1 million recipients who still subscribe to the DVD service will be able to keep the final discs that land in their mailboxes.

Decades long service

“It’s sad,” longtime Netflix DVD subscriber Amanda Konkle was quoted by AP as saying on Thursday, as she waited the arrival for her final disc, “The Nightcomers,” a 1971 British horror film featuring Marlon Brando. “It’s makes me feel nostalgic. Getting these DVDs has been part of my routine for decades.”

Associated Press reported that some of the remaining DVD diehards will get up to 10 discs as a going away present to loyal customers such as Konkle, 41, who has watched more than 900 titles since signing up for the service in 2006.

In hopes of being picked for the 10 DVD giveaway, Konkle set up her queue to highlight for more movies starring Brando and older films that are difficult to find on streaming.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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