Netflix mails its final DVDs to subscribers

The company shipped its first disc ('Beetlejuice') way back in 1998.


Netflix is shipping its final DVD rentals, marking the end of an era that helped make the company the streaming behemoth it is today. "Netflix will mail its final DVD on September 29, 2023," the company said in a post on X yesterday. "But the red envelope remains an enduring symbol of our love of entertainment."

Netflix announced in April this year that it would shut down its DVD rental business on September 29, saying the shrinking demand for physical rentals is making it "increasingly difficult" to offer the quality of service it wants. The company shipped its first disc (Beetlejuice) in 1998, and has since shipped 5.2 billion movies in those red envelopes to more than 40 million customers.

DVD rentals paved the way for Netflix to introduce streaming on-demand in 2007, and it quickly grew to become the company's most popular offering by 2009. The rest is history, as Netflix gradually expanded to produce its own streaming content and now counts over 238 million subscribers. Meanwhile, DVD rentals (which shifted to have gradually become a minor part of Netflix. And while video purists still love DVDs and Blu-rays, sales worldwide dropped 19 percent from 2021 to 2022 alone. In one recent blow, Disney announced that it was halting DVD and Blu-ray production in Australia.

While it's sadly the end of an era, there is one silver lining. This summer, Netflix announced that anyone who still has a rental will be able to keep their discs, and can even request up to 10 more movies so that the company can clear out its stock. "Please enjoy your final shipments for as long as you like," the company posted on X.

Netflix mails its final DVDs to subscribers