Netflix Shuts Down DVD by Mail Business,, After More Than Two Decades

After more than two decades, Netflix has announced the closure of its original DVD by mail business,[0] The decision comes on the heels of new “business shrinking” strategies in the current environment and the company will send out the final batch of red envelopes later this year in the fall.[1] The last discs will be mailed out on September 29, and must be returned by October 27.[0] In 1998, Netflix was established as a substitute for video rental stores such as Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and Family Video by providing a mail-order service. Rather than making a trip to a physical store and relying on their inventory for your desired content, you would simply make a request and Netflix would deliver it to you.[2] Netflix shipped their first-ever DVD, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, on March 10th, 1998.[3] Since then, they’ve shipped over 5.2 billion discs, with the Sandra Bullock-starring sports drama The Blind Side visiting the most mailboxes.[4]

Years before it ever streamed TV shows or movies, Netflix launched with a simple idea: Replace the outmoded DVD rental experience by delivering DVDs to customers and letting them mail them back when they were done. Soon, Netflix’s red envelopes were everywhere, and Blockbuster, the dominant DVD rental company of the era, was on the ropes.[5] However, with streaming wars at their peak, Netflix saw a significant dip in subscribers.[1] To provide background, the number of subscribers dropped drastically from 14 million in 2011 to slightly above 2 million by the conclusion of 2019. Additionally, the previous year saw a sharp decline of 50% in rental revenue.[1]

Despite the growth in Netflix’s streaming service subscribers, its DVD rental service has been consistently decreasing.[6] Although it’s uncertain how many individuals are still subscribing to Netflix’s physical rental service due to the company’s decision to cease disclosing such information years ago, its earnings decreased from $200 million in the years 2020 and 2021 to $100 million in the previous year.[6] Dropping disc rentals also brings a monetary benefit.[7] Although Netflix is recuperating from a gloomy 2022, its first-quarter earnings have declined compared to the same period last year.[7] The increase in subscribers was not significant, with only 1.7 million new users added.[7]

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos said in a statement, “Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming.[8] We feel so privileged to have been able to share movie nights with our DVD members for so long, so proud of what our employees achieved and excited to continue pleasing entertainment fans for many more decades to come.”[9] The decision to axe the DVD-by-mail unit could help Netflix trim costs, even if the savings are relatively small.[7] According to data from VideoScan/MediaPlayNews, the market for discs has been experiencing a consistent and significant decline for several years. In fact, sales alone plummeted by 19 percent between 2021 and 2022.[7]

In other news, Netflix has decided to crack down on password sharing globally, following pilot programs in several Latin American countries earlier this year.[3] The company also said it will begin cracking down on password sharing in the United States in the coming weeks, charging a fee for shared accounts or closing accounts that refuse to play ball.[10]

0. “After 25 Years, Netflix Is Sending Its Last By-Mail DVD This September” GameSpot, 18 Apr. 2023,

1. “Netflix to Stop DVD Service After 25 Years” Collider, 18 Apr. 2023,

2. “Netflix to finally stop sending DVDs by mail” Mashable, 18 Apr. 2023,

3. “Netflix will ship its final DVDs this fall” Digital Trends, 18 Apr. 2023,

4. “Netflix Shuts Down DVD Rentals After 25 Years” Consequence, 18 Apr. 2023,

5. “Netflix to Shutter Legacy DVD-by-Mail Business” Hollywood Reporter, 18 Apr. 2023,

6. “End of an Era: Netflix Is Officially Shuttering Its DVD Rental Business” IGN, 18 Apr. 2023,

7. “Netflix will shut down its DVD rental business in September” Engadget, 18 Apr. 2023,

8. “Netflix to stop sending out DVDs after 25 years” The Week, 18 Apr. 2023,

9. “Netflix announces end to DVD mailing service” GMA, 18 Apr. 2023,

10. “Netflix ends DVD rentals as it faces new era” BBC, 18 Apr. 2023,