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RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

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RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Old 04-18-23, 03:58 PM
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RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023




“After an incredible 25 year run, we’ve decided to wind down DVD.com later this year,” Sarandos wrote in a blog post on the company’s site. “Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members but as the business continues to shrink that’s going to become increasingly difficult. So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final discs on September 29, 2023.”

I think I cancelled my Netflix disc rental subscription probably almost 10 years ago. It was great for awhile before digital and streaming made seeing new movies more convenient. And it didn't help when they started throttling new releases.

It was a good run.
Old 04-18-23, 04:03 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I was wondering when it was going to happen. I still have it, but it looks like I should go ahead and cancel it.
Old 04-18-23, 04:06 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I kept forgetting that this was still going, amazing to think it lasted this long.

My wife and I were terrible users, we'd get a disc and it would sometimes sit for weeks until we watched it and returned it. Once streaming hit we changed over right away (though I kept buying discs of course).
Old 04-18-23, 04:07 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Back when they at least appeared to cater to real movie buffs.

Old 04-18-23, 04:08 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I wonder if they will have a massive blow out sale of all their used discs or if they will just throw them all in the trash? I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even bother acknowledging what they will do with their remaining disc inventory.

Anyhow, I'm amazed it lasted this long when disc rentals pretty much became irrelevant in the last 10+ years.

Last edited by DJariya; 04-18-23 at 04:16 PM.
Old 04-18-23, 04:40 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by DJariya
I wonder if they will have a massive blow out sale of all their used discs or if they will just throw them all in the trash? I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even bother acknowledging what they will do with their remaining disc inventory.

Anyhow, I'm amazed it lasted this long when disc rentals pretty much became irrelevant in the last 10+ years.
They still generated $145 million in revenue last year. Looks like dropping under $150 million in revenue was the nail in the coffin.
Old 04-18-23, 05:36 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I've gone to garage sales where people have bins of former rental discs still in the caddies. So they unload them somehow.
Old 04-18-23, 05:49 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Yep, lighting $145 million on fire because it’s not $150 million. Wonder how many damaged discs are in circulation, and if they’ll do anything to those who don’t send them back now? Back when they charged by the disc, you could just pay the difference in the purchase price and keep the disc if you wanted.

Will they give some sort of prize to whoever gets the last disc they ship?
Old 04-18-23, 06:01 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
Yep, lighting $145 million on fire because it’s not $150 million. Wonder how many damaged discs are in circulation, and if they’ll do anything to those who don’t send them back now? Back when they charged by the disc, you could just pay the difference in the purchase price and keep the disc if you wanted.

Will they give some sort of prize to whoever gets the last disc they ship?
Revenue also dropped 20% year to year. They're probably just getting out before they start losing money. It looks like they're keeping your billing information on file. I guess you'll have to pay for any unreturned discs
Old 04-18-23, 07:56 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

It's probably an excuse to cut some employees. The business at that level could have held on a few more years, but corporations always love trimming overhead and selling that to Wall Street as great.
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Old 04-18-23, 08:04 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

If you can afford to cut a $145 million gross arm of your business, you've got money to burn.

If they need me to take it over as a side hustle, fine. I'll do it.

There are older generations who still just watch DVDs. There is some class and generational marginalization impact here. But money is money.
Old 04-18-23, 09:21 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by milo bloom
I've gone to garage sales where people have bins of former rental discs still in the caddies. So they unload them somehow.
Are you thinking of Redbox?
Old 04-18-23, 09:48 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by lwhy?
They still generated $145 million in revenue last year. Looks like dropping under $150 million in revenue was the nail in the coffin.
Just because they made $145M in gross revenue in 2022, it doesn't mean it's all profit. There's still a lot of money that goes into operating costs as well as acquisition costs. Since disc rentals is for all intents and purposes a dead business, might as well focus that money back onto their bread and butter now.
Old 04-18-23, 10:25 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by DJariya
Just because they made $145M in gross revenue in 2022, it doesn't mean it's all profit. There's still a lot of money that goes into operating costs as well as acquisition costs. Since disc rentals is for all intents and purposes a dead business, might as well focus that money back onto their bread and butter now.
They may have only made $10-20 million in profit on that and they were down about $30 million in revenue (20%) from 2022. Most people are surprised it stayed around this long. They decide to get out while the getting was still good. This hurts people in remote areas with bad internet. In my hometown many people don't have strong enough internet to stream or the internet goes out for days at a time. I always liked the discs in the mail. It was very convenient.
Old 04-18-23, 10:27 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

On another note, Gamefly was advertising their disc rental business today. You can rent 4k discs from them and they're comparable to Netflix.
Old 04-18-23, 10:49 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Not surprising. I stopped using them around 2010, back when they actually had a great turnaround and catered to even the most discriminating film buffs.

This just means physical media are totally dead, except for expensive boutique direct-order-only labels, and limited press runs. Sadly, this means, for quality releases of cult films, (high bitrate, permanent) we're going to be forced to pay big bucks (laserdisc-era prices or worse) if we want good quality and permanence. The alternative is to do without. Sadly ironic and paradoxical in this age awash in media and instant content, don't you think?
Old 04-18-23, 11:46 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by DJariya
Just because they made $145M in gross revenue in 2022, it doesn't mean it's all profit. There's still a lot of money that goes into operating costs as well as acquisition costs. Since disc rentals is for all intents and purposes a dead business, might as well focus that money back onto their bread and butter now.
Yeah, they might have made $145M in gross revenue, but then they also have all of these operating costs like buying the discs, mailing them both ways, paying employees, maintaining infrastructure -- both physical and digital, etc. that cut into it.
Old 04-19-23, 08:43 AM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Saw the news this morning and it's definitely the end of an era. I've been an off and on subscriber over the 25 years they've been in business. The past few years they've been the cheapest per disc if you're able to maximize shipments, but they've made no real effort to stay current. They never made the leap to 4k, and new releases in Blu Ray were rarely added to the site. As older discs got damaged, they were just removed from the site instead of replaced. They might have just been riding out their existing inventory as long as they could before having to make a sizable investment into updating their library. From a corporate perspective, $150MM revenue stream is hardly worth the effort of managing when you have a $33 Billion enterprise.

And for those looking for alternatives, Gamefly and 3d-blurayrental have been great in my experience.

I also remember first signing up for the service through one of those free month promos. I was fully expecting to get a Blockbuster style Amaray case in the mail and instead got the little envelope and thought "that makes a lot more sense".

Last edited by John Galt; 04-19-23 at 08:55 AM.
Old 04-19-23, 11:28 AM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Never rented discs, I was more into buying my own. In hindsight maybe not the best decision but it is what it is.
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Old 04-19-23, 01:03 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Remember when I bought my DVL-909 in 1998, I got a form for 2 free rentals from them which I never used. I didn’t want the pricing model of DVD to go rental-centric like VHS did, plus I worked at a theater and had already seen just about everything so I was concentrating on movies I wanted to buy.

It was a few months after that when they started giving away DVDs with players.
Old 04-19-23, 01:11 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I had Netflix for a long time when it was just the disc service, but canned it when I realized the discs were just sitting at my house for a month before I'd return them, half unwatched
Old 04-19-23, 03:33 PM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

I’ve been renting since I got my disc player in 1998 and figured it had to end sometime. I always liked having the disc option for obscure stuff that was not on digital, or that wasn’t on the streaming services I subscribe to. Something I’m pretty sure I’d only watch once—say, Plane—I liked getting a disc for instead of buying or hoping it would hit one of my services. I tried their streaming when it first started, didn’t like the content, and stayed with the discs, but added streaming later when the content improved.

Even though they have TV shows, 99% of my rentals were movies just because disc management is awkward, and there are so many shows to watch on streaming.

Unfortunately the decline of the USPS killed a lot of value in the service, adding several days to each turnaround. Plus the various studio agreements delayed the availability of a lot of new releases, plus of course many movies never hitting disc at all. A couple years ago I wondered if it would make more sense to just rent a la carte instead of subscribing to the discs, but then I’d have to wrap my brain around the idea of paying $5.99 or whatever specifically to rent Plane. Maybe I’ll just figure I don’t need to see all the new movies and I’ll just binge TV shows instead of watching the Planes of the world.
Old 04-20-23, 01:15 AM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

This sucks and hate this news.

They are making money so why not keep the disc service?

If all movies and TV shows could be accessed on Netflix streaming then maybe it would be justified to get rid of the disc service but that is not possible with the issues of rights and what streamer has them exclusively on their own site.

Redbox must be happy since now if you want to see a new release you have to use them if you don't want to rent a movie on pay per view or subscribe to a streamer just to watch a certain movie.

I could rent Babylon and Marvel movies and not have to subscribe to Paramount + or Disney + just to watch those movies and it was a lot cheaper and also access bonus features.
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Old 04-20-23, 01:17 AM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by DJariya
I wonder if they will have a massive blow out sale of all their used discs or if they will just throw them all in the trash? I wouldn't be surprised if they don't even bother acknowledging what they will do with their remaining disc inventory.

Anyhow, I'm amazed it lasted this long when disc rentals pretty much became irrelevant in the last 10+ years.

You were streaming movies in 2013??
Old 04-20-23, 01:33 AM
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Re: RIP Netflix disc rental service 1998-2023

Originally Posted by JeffTheAlpaca
You were streaming movies in 2013??
Not quite. When I quit my Netflix disc membership, I went back to renting new movies at my local mom and pop video store until they closed in 2017. I was kind of using Netflix, HBOGo, Showtime and STARZ. But streaming apps weren’t as popular yet as you couldn’t watch brand new titles.

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