Netflix Announces the Retirement of an Iconic Service

Updated: Apr. 20, 2023

The Netflix service that started it all is coming to an end after an impressive 25 year run.

Long before Netflix was one of the most popular streaming platforms, the company was best known for shipping DVDs to customers in the mail in iconic red envelopes. The combination of streaming and movie-by-mail services put Netflix on the map as the go-to source for entertainment, and for years customers had the option to enjoy either or both viewing options. However, all good things must come to an end, and Netflix is retiring a key service in the coming months.

What service is Netflix retiring?

Netflix is retiring its movie-by-mail DVD rental service. The company initially rose to fame delivering DVDs straight to the mailboxes of customers all over the country, eliminating the need for local rental stores and wiping out the likes of Blockbuster once and for all. Over the years, Netflix’s movie-by-mail service laid the groundwork for the future of streaming. In the coming months, Netflix will retire DVDs, shifting to an entirely web-based model.

When did Netflix begin mailing DVDs?

Netflix first began mailing DVDs directly to subscribers in March 1998. The first film the company ever shipped was the modern classic Beetlejuice directed by Tim Burton.

Customers could log in to Netflix and create a queue of DVDs, and as soon as they finished watching one and sent it back, Netflix would send the next film on the list. The movie-by-mail service reached its peak in 2010 when The Blind Side became the most ordered film available to ship via Netflix.

When will the last Netflix DVD rental go out?

Netflix has announced that it will ship its final DVD rentals on September 29, 2023. After 25 years, the service that made Netflix a household name will no longer be available to customers.

The Netflix of today is dramatically different than the Netflix of 1998. Original programming, tiered pricing options that include Netflix ads and the ability to access a massive library of content in an instant reflect the demands of customers that have evolved over time.


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