Netflix Turned Its Old DVD Rental Website Into a Memorial With a Docuseries





Netflix - screenshot from YouTube

Netflix mailed its last red envelope in September and shut down its DVD-by-mail business. Instead of killing the website, the streaming giant turned the site into an homage to physical media.

Now when you visit, you can watch dozens of mini-documentaries about Netflix’s history with physical media. The shorts include the business’ “final day,” member stories, the origins of the red envelope, old commercials, and more.

While a majority of viewers had made the switch to streaming, Netflix’s DVD service still boasted 2.7 million subscribers in 2019. The option to rent a physical DVD was not only nostalgic, but it gave movie buffs a chance to find more obscure titles without signing up for multiple niche services. The service also helped viewers save money when watching newer titles.

Netflix isn’t the only company to start retiring physical media. Last month, Best Buy confirmed it would stop selling DVDs and Blu-Rays in the first quarter of 2024. The store has been phasing out physical discs and could also stop selling them online. Ingram Entertainment, one of the largest distributors of DVDs and Blu-Rays, said it also plans to stop selling physical discs. Rumors that Target plans to stop selling DVDs, Blu-Rays, and CDs have also been circulating.

Walmart and Amazon are some of the last places customers can buy DVDs, Blu-Rays, and 4K Ultra HD discs.

Over the years, mass viewer migration to streaming services has sent physical disc sales into a downward spiral. In August, trade association DEG: Digital Entertainment Group reported that U.S. physical media revenue fell from $1.5 billion in the first half of 2022 to $754 million in the first half of 2023 — about a 28% drop. In 2021, DVD purchases made up about 7% of the global home entertainment market in 2021, dwarfed by digital video’s 70%, according to Wired.

Image credit: Netflix

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