Netflix has finally made the long-expected announcement that its DVD-by-mail rental service is coming to an end, with the final discs set to be shipped out this September.
"On September 29th, 2023, we will send out the last red envelope," the company says in a farewell tweet. "It has been a true pleasure and honor to deliver movie nights to our wonderful members for 25 years. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey, including this final season of red envelopes."
According to an official FAQ, final billing for the DVD rental service will be made in August, so you'll potentially be getting a free month of DVDs. The company says it will continue to accept returns up until October 27, 2023, but I suspect they won't be hounding anybody too hard if some of that last batch of movies ends up going missing.
On September 29th, 2023, we will send out the last red envelope. It has been a true pleasure and honor to deliver movie nights to our wonderful members for 25 years. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey, including this final season of red envelopes. pic.twitter.com/9lAntaL2wwApril 18, 2023
These days Netflix is synonymous with film and TV streaming, and you may be surprised to hear that the old DVD rental business is currently still going at all. Netflix was incorporated as a DVD-by-mail rental service way back in 1997, and it was a decade later before the company began to invest in streaming media in 2007.
Netflix briefly attempted to rebrand its DVD rentals under the name "Qwikster" in 2011, but it wasn't until 2016 - around the rise of megapopular original programing like the first season of Stranger Things - that the company committed to rebranding the service as DVD.com, a "Netflix company."
DVD.com remained an excellent way to cheaply get ahold of DVDs and Blu-rays of movies and shows that weren't available on streaming, but certainly the service's end isn't going to surprise much of anybody. The writing's been on the wall for some time, and an Associated Press story from November 2022 noted that many of Netflix's remaining DVD subscribers were starting to complain of long wait times and shrinking selections.
You can count DVD.com alongside all the canceled Netflix shows as the streaming service's death toll grows ever higher.