End of an era: Netflix DVD subscribers mourn the service's imminent demise

Instead, he uses a DVD-by-mail service that the company started more than a decade ago.Colin McEvoy from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania uses Netflix's DVD-by-mail service to watch Bollywood and obscure independent movies.

End of an era: Netflix DVD subscribers mourn the service's imminent demise


Colin McEvoy is a father-of-two from Bethlehem in Pennsylvania who describes himself as a film enthusiast. He often watches Bollywood films or obscure independent movies on Netflix, but not the popular streaming service.

McEvoy, 39 said that he has been using Netflix DVD-by-mail since 2001 - just three years after the service was launched.

McEvoy uses an Xbox 360 to watch Netflix DVDs. "Now, I have friends that saw my red Netflix envelopes and couldn't believe I still received the DVDs.


McEvoy, a DVD-by-mail skeptic, is now one of those who mourns the imminent end of the service. Netflix announced on Tuesday that it would send its final red envelope to members on September 29, 2023, marking the end of 25 years of sending DVDs by mail. Netflix will accept customer returns until October 27, 2018.

McEvoy stated that he was saddened by the loss of this service.

When Netflix launched in 1998, it promised a simpler rental experience than driving to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. Red envelopes, long associated with Netflix, were found in homes and dorms across the nation. Netflix started streaming online content in 2007. This gradually led to a shift away from the DVD business.

The idea of getting a DVD by mail today may seem as old-fashioned as receiving a CD via dial up, but many long-time customers have told CNN that they still value the DVD option for its variety, price and extra perks.

Brandon Cordy, 41, an Atlanta-based graphic designer, said that he rented DVDs instead of digital copies because they often didn't include special features or audio commentary.

Other factors are also at play. Michael Inouye of ABI Research said that some consumers might not have reliable or fast broadband connections or may simply prefer physical media over digital. This is similar to how some audio enthusiasts collect and still buy CDs and vinyl records. Some households still own DVD players in their cars.

Netflix's offering, however, has become less appealing in recent years. Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, wrote this week that the company's goal was to offer the best service to its members. However, as the DVD market continues to shrink, it will become more difficult to do so.

Netflix could better focus its resources by closing down the DVD business as it expands to new markets, such as gaming and live interactive content. In recent years, its DVD business has declined dramatically. Netflix's DVD revenue accounted for 0.6% or $182 million of Netflix's revenue in 2021.

Netflix may also consider the cost of operating its DVD business, particularly as it rethinks costs in general amid increased streaming competition and economic uncertainty. Eric Schmitt is a senior analyst at Gartner Research. He said that moving plastic discs costs more than streaming digital bits. Costs are also a factor when it comes to removing and replacing damaged or lost inventory.

Some long-time Netflix subscribers saw the signs even before Netflix's announcement this week.

Cordy explained that the inventory of titles available had decreased over time. Some movies, which were previously available, are no longer available. The turnaround times for a new film or films also began to increase, so I knew that it was only a question of time. But I didn't really want it to stop if I could.

Some DVD subscribers hope there is still a happy end.

Bill Rouhana told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that he would like to buy Netflix's DVD division. He said: 'I would like to purchase it... I'd prefer Netflix sell me the DVD business rather than shutting it down.' Redbox is still popular, despite the shift to streaming. However, it took a big hit during the pandemic due to the lack of new TV shows and movies.

Netflix did not respond immediately to a comment request regarding Rouhana’s offer. Nick Maggio, a 43 year old elementary school teacher in Valley Stream, New York said he hoped the company would sell its library. He said: 'I'm sure there are a few titles that I would like to have.

Some DVD subscribers are focusing on watching as many movies as possible before the service is discontinued.

McEvoy said that he is determined to watch all the films listed in '1001 Movies you Must See Before You Dies', with Netflix's help.

He said, "I would have never been able find all those movies without Netflix's DVD service." "I have only four movies to go."