Netflix was founded in 1997 when the internet was still popular in the mainstream. It was years before streaming was introduced to the world, and decades before watching movies and TV shows online disrupted Hollywood as a whole. The company began by renting and selling DVDs by mail. When the service was announced to be shut down, Netflix has shipped some 5 billion envelopes containing DVDs to its subscribed households over the years. So while this part of the business has paled in comparison to streaming in recent years, it has certainly had an impact.
While many modern Netflix users may be surprised to learn that the company was still offering DVDs in 2023, the fact remains that it’s a signal that times are indeed changing. Sales of physical media have been in decline for years, with the market only a fraction of what it was in the early 2000s. Blu-ray/DVD sales can no longer bail out a movie that is under- is performing at the box office, and many recent movies haven’t even made it to Blu-ray, including last year’s horror hit “Barbarian.” Not to mention the fact that most shows and movies made for streaming never get physical releases, so if/when they leave streaming, they’re essentially unavailable.
Either way, there’s no more room for a company like this, especially when Netflix has to focus on competing in the ever-changing streaming wars. Still, it’s a sign that Blu-ray/DVD’s days may be numbered – even though they shouldn’t be. Although one big question remains: what is Netflix going to do with these warehouses full of movies and TV shows? Can we expect some sort of online liquidation? Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Subscribers with questions can find the full FAQ at DVD.Netflix.com.