Farewell to Netflix's red envelopes. End of an era

30.09.2023 posted by Admin

Netflix ends 25-year DVD mailing era

Netflix is bidding farewell to its iconic red envelopes, marking the end of a 25-year era during which it mailed DVDs to its subscribers. This decision was announced earlier this year, signifying a significant shift for the company, which transitioned to online streaming over 16 years ago. Netflix will continue accepting DVD returns until October 27, allowing customers to wrap up their DVD-watching journeys.

Back in 1998, when Netflix first launched, its DVD service promised a convenient alternative to the hassle of visiting physical video rental stores like Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. Those red envelopes, a symbol of Netflix, used to adorn homes and dorm rooms across the nation.

Although receiving DVDs by mail might now seem as outdated as dial-up internet, some loyal customers still see value in this option. Colin McEvoy, a film enthusiast from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has been a steadfast user of Netflix's DVD service since 2001. He's been rushing through a queue of 40 movies in recent weeks to make the most of the service before it concludes. McEvoy appreciates the access to Bollywood and obscure independent films not readily available on streaming platforms.

Others, like Brandon Cordy, a 41-year-old graphic designer from Atlanta, stuck with DVDs for their special features and audio commentaries, which digital rentals often lack. Additionally, some users face challenges accessing fast broadband connections or simply prefer physical media, similar to audiophiles who collect CDs and vinyl records.

For Netflix, however, the DVD service has become less practical. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos noted that as the DVD business continued to decline, maintaining the quality of service became increasingly challenging. This move allows Netflix to allocate resources to expanding into new markets like gaming and enhancing its live and interactive content offerings.

In 2021, Netflix's non-streaming revenue, primarily from DVDs, accounted for only 0.6% of its total revenue, around $182 million. The operational costs of handling physical discs also played a role in the decision, especially as Netflix faces heightened competition in the streaming industry.

Even before the official announcement, some longtime subscribers noticed a reduction in available titles and slower turnaround times for new movies. They could see the writing on the wall.

There were hopes for a different outcome, with Bill Rouhana, CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, expressing interest in purchasing Netflix's DVD business. However, Netflix confirmed it has no plans to sell the DVD business, opting to recycle most of its DVDs through specialized third-party companies and donating some inventory to film and media organizations.

As a farewell gesture, Netflix is offering subscribers a "finale surprise," allowing them to receive up to 10 randomly selected DVDs from their queue.

Despite the availability of numerous streaming platforms, some users, like McEvoy, are saddened to bid adieu to Netflix's DVD service, which enabled them to explore a vast array of films not easily accessible elsewhere.
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