Speed Reads


Netflix to stop sending out DVDs after 25 years

It's the end of an era for Netflix. 

The company has announced it's officially ending its DVD rental business after more than two decades. "On September 29th, 2023, we will send out the last red envelope," Netflix said in a tweet. "It has been a true pleasure and honor to deliver movie nights to our wonderful members for 25 years."

Long before the rise of streaming, Netflix operated since 1998 as a service where subscribers could rent movies through the mail, and DVDs would arrive in a red envelope. It wasn't until 2007 that Netflix's streaming service launched. 

But believe it or not, Netflix has maintained its DVD rental business all this time, though it now does so on DVD.com rather than the main Netflix site. The DVD service reportedly had more than two million subscribers as of 2019. In 2011, Netflix infamously announced plans to spin off its DVD business as Qwikster, but the idea was walked back after backlash. 

On its DVD.com website, Netflix said "we've made the difficult decision to wind down" the service because "the DVD business continues to shrink." Discs will be shipped until the end of September, with returns accepted until the end of October. The decision comes after a challenging year for Netflix, which lost subscribers in 2022 for the first time in over a decade. On Tuesday, the company announced it added fewer subscribers than analysts expected. 

"Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming," Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said, thanking "everyone who ever added a DVD to their queue or waited by the mailbox for a red envelope to arrive."