Netflix Will Finally Stop Sending DVD Rentals in the Mail, Will Let Subscribers Keep Final Discs

It’s officially the end of an era at Netflix. You just might have assumed that era ended years ago. The streaming giant has announced this fall it will retire its DVDs-by-mail service. Yes, Netflix will finally stop sending customers red envelopes with movies, the very business model that helped it become a global entertainment phenomenon.

Two-and-a-half decades after Netflix realized not everyone loved going to a video rental store only to discover the film they wanted wasn’t available, it will stop sending movies via the mail. The very company that (twice) helped kill Blockbuster has now come to claim a final victim: it’s original concept.

Co-CEO Ted Sarandos explained why and when the DVD-by-Mail is ending in a press release:

After an incredible 25 year run, we’ve decided to wind down later this year. Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members but as the business continues to shrink that’s going to become increasingly difficult. So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final discs on September 29, 2023. 

A red Netflix envelope

We haven’t had Netflix mail us a DVD in a long time. So long in fact we’re not sure about the exact DVD rental policy anymore. But hopefully, the old rules apply and customers who order a movie that day can keep that disc as long as they have a subscription. Blockbuster did not let us do that. It would be downright hypocritical of Netflix to use those rules now.

Happily, though Netflix has chimed in to clear a few things up.

It wants you to know that it will not charge for any unreturned discs after 9/29. If you’re a subscriber, you can enjoy those last discs for however long they’ll play for you. Additionally, you can apply for a special promotional offer. If you are a customer, you can enter to win 10 DVDs randomly selected by Netflix based on your queue. That’s quite a deal.

Watch out, though. Every pre-streaming Netflix customer has some embarrassing rentals in their history. You don’t know what you might get. Hopefully Netflix deletes those when they stop shipping DVDs.

Originally published on April 18, 2023.

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