Netflix to shutter loss-making DVD-by-mail business
April 19, 2023 - U.S. streaming giant Netflix is to close down its once-popular DVD-by-mail rental division, which launched the firm 25 years ago.
Netflix is to close down its DVD rental division in September – the business arm that launched the firm 25 years ago.
At its peak in 2010, around 20 million people subscribed to the Netflix DVD-by-mail rental service – receiving disks by post in iconic red and white envelopes and changing the way people watched movies at home.
Such was their success that they put Blockbuster out of business in 2010 – ironically, just 10 years after offering themselves for sale to the giant video rental chain for $50 million. According to Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, Blockbuster “nearly laughed us out of the office”.
The California-based company has come a long way since it started shipping DVDs in 1998, using that early income to launch a movie streaming service in 2007. It now has some 232 million subscribers around the world.
But despite its early lead, Netflix’s streaming dominance is starting to erode as competition from the likes of YouTube, Disney+ and Amazon Prime intensifies.
It shed more than a million subscribers in the first six months of 2022, then added back 1.75 million members in Q1 2023 – considered a low rate of growth.
Netflix says it will ship its final DVDs to customers on September 29, 2023.