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Netflix is ending its DVD-by-mail service

Goodbye, little red envelopes

Bright colorful illustration of Netflix logo Illustration: Ariel Davis for Polygon
Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Netflix is ending its DVD mail service. (Which, yes, it still has still operated — for now.)

“After an incredible 25-year run, we’ve decided to wind down later this year,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote. “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.”

In the late 1990s, Netflix revolutionized the home entertainment world with a subscription service that mailed DVDs directly to customers. Founded in 1997, the company originally both rented and sold DVDs, but after its first year, Netflix pivoted solely to the rental business. In fact, a handy-dandy infographic provided by Netflix (below) revealed that the first ever DVD it shipped was Beetlejuice in March 1998. Netflix introduced its monthly subscription model in 2000, and that quickly overtook its per-rental business. Then, in 2007, Netflix launched its streaming service.

Today, Netflix is known as a streaming service first and foremost; still, it continued to operate DVD rentals from its website. Netflix will rent out DVDs through that channel until till Sept. 29, 2023. Customers will have till Oct. 27 to return those discs.

Current Netflix members don’t have to do anything to cancel their DVD subscriptions, though they can download their data to access their entire movie rental history if they desire. More information is available on the Netflix DVD FAQ.

Netflix has been trying to adapt to the rapidly tumultuous streaming world for some time, after reporting a loss of 1 million subscribers last year. Some efforts include introducing an ad-supported tier and mitigating password-sharing.

And now, Netflix says goodbye to the oldest part of its business.

An infographic for Netflix DVD rentals that reveals the first DVD shipped was Beetlejuice, the company shipped 5.2 billion DVDs, the most popular title was The Blind Side, it had 20 main genres, and 40 million subscribers over the years. Image: Netflix

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