With streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, it is hard to imagine anyone still takes the time to rent and watch movies and TV shows from a DVD. Even Redbox, a popular option for DVD rentals because of their convenience and affordability, now offers the option to rent and view through a streaming service.
With all of these streaming services so readily available, most just assume DVDs have become nothing more than part of a collection gathering dust on a bookshelf in your living room. Why mess with a player when you can simply click and play? However, an interesting tidbit of information not remembered by all is that Netflix wasn’t always a streaming service giant. Initially, Netflix got its feet wet in the video industry as a DVD rental company.
When Netflix just started out, you could sign up for a membership allowing you to rent one or multiple DVDs. The DVDs were mailed to your home in a red envelope, and your membership permitted you to keep the DVD as long as you wanted. When you were done with it, you could return it and exchange it for something else.
It wasn’t until the early months of 2007 that Netflix subscribers began being offered the opportunity to pay for access to a library of streaming content as an alternative to renting DVDs.
Today, there are many people with Netflix memberships who are not even aware of the fact that you can still opt to rent DVDs. In fact, there are some movies and television shows that are only available through Netflix’s DVD rental plans.
— M&E Daily (@mandedaily) August 22, 2018
According to a recent report by Variety, the DVD rental side of the Netflix business isn’t as dead as most people assume it to be. Theodore Anthony Sarandos Jr., known better as Ted Sarandos, happens to be the chief content officer for Netflix. Ted, who is in charge of overseeing Netflix’s billion-dollar annual budget, told Variety the DVD rental aspect of the business is still booming.
Am I the only one that completely forgot that Netflix used to be a mail in DVD subscription service?!
— Ryan Joseph Kirby (@ryankirbz) August 26, 2018
Sarandos clarified that while Netflix has made no real effort to save the DVD side of the business, DVD rental is still something their customers really want.
“We never spent one minute trying to save the DVD business. And yet even as it scales unprecedented heights, the company does still send DVDs via its trademark red envelopes to about 3 million subscribers.”
While price and packages vary by region, Netflix U.S. subscribers have the option of choosing between three different streaming packages as well as adding one of three different DVD packages.
These 3M have access to, what, 50, 100 times more movies than the streamers do. https://t.co/dUojSzlgPP
— Erik M. Gregersen (@erikgregersen) August 26, 2018
Subscribers can even pay $1 extra on any option to switch from DVD to Blu-ray.