Netflix to send up to 10 mystery DVDs by mail one last time

Netflix has a mystery gift for its most loyal subscribers as it officially shutters its DVD-by-mail service this fall.

The company, now primarily known as a streaming powerhouse, will give longtime U.S. customers a “finale” surprise — consisting of up to 10 extra discs, selected from a curated queue, that will be shipped on Sept. 29.

“Let’s have some fun for our finale!” Netflix wrote in an email to customers on Thursday, which was later shared on X. “You won’t know if any extra envelopes are headed your way until they arrive in your mailbox!”

Eligible customers must opt in to activate the promotion, which is subject to “limited quantity while supplies last.” The company will accept returns of the DVDs until Oct. 27, 2023.

In April, Netflix announced the end of its DVD-by-mail business model after 25 years. Since 1998, more than 5 billion DVD and Blu-ray rentals have reportedly been mailed out to subscribers across the U.S.

Despite the company shifting its focus to streaming and producing original content, some hardcore cinephiles remained loyal subscribers because Netflix offered DVDs of films that were not available to stream.

“Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming,” wrote Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos in a blog post about the shutdown.

As the story goes, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph mailed a Patsy Cline compact disc to friend and fellow co-founder Reed Hasting, in order to see if discs could survive being transported through the U.S. Postal Service. The unscientific test worked, leading the two to launch a DVD-by-mail rental website, which gave Blockbuster Video a run for its money.

However, Netflix’s revenue from DVDs-by-mail has steadily declined over the years. According to Variety, the DVD side of the business generated $145.7 million in 2022, down 20% year-over-year.

Karu F. Daniels

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