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Netflix to eject DVD by mail business after 25 years

Netflix has announced it will cease shipping physical DVDs to customers in the United States this autumn, marking the end of an era for the streaming giant.

After a quarter of a century of sending the movies and TV show discs to subscribers, the company will halt the practice on 27 September 2023.

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The announcement via a company blog post on Tuesday says despite the desire to continue to provide the service to users, keeping that aspect of the business afloat has become increasingly difficult.

In the post, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said the deliveries to customers at home, which hastened the demise of the-then industry leader Blockbuster, had helped to pave the way for the streaming era while also facilitating the company’s first forays into original programming.

“Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming,” he wrote.

“From the beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered: the wide variety of the titles and the ability to binge watch entire series. DVDs also led to our first foray into original programming — with Red Envelope Entertainment titles including Sherrybaby and Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion.”

The company issued some stats, including the number of DVDs shipped in 25 years (over 5.2 billion), the first disc ever shipped (Beetlejuice on March 10, 1998), the most popular title (The Blind Side) and the number of supported genres (20 main genres and 530 sub-genres).

Over the years, the company amassed 40 million unique subscribers. However, that’s now dwarfed by the 200 million odd subscribers Netflix has around the world. A report in late 2020 said Netflix/ still had 2 million subscribers receiving discs in the USA.

The last time Brits had a DVD by post business of note was in 2017 when Amazon shut down the Lovefilm service it purchased in 2011.

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