DVD By Mail Isn't Totally Dead: Netflix Has Shipped Its 5 Billionth DVD
Kind of like how people are still paying for AOL is somehow still a thing, so is getting Netflix DVDs by mail, as evidence by the fact that Netflix is celebrating having shipped its 5 billionth DVD to a (assumably) non-streaming customer.
The milestone was announced by DVD.com, the Netflix subsidiary that is now responsible for the company’s physical disc subscriptions, on Twitter Monday.
Netflix began its DVD-by-mail subscription service over 21 years ago, in April of 1998, and shipped its first billion DVDs by early 2007. The company launched its video streaming service soon after, offering it initially as an added bonus to DVD subscribers.
Since then, the company’s DVD subscription service has steadily declined, from 14 million subscribers in 2011 to just 2.4 million subscribers at the end of the most recent fiscal quarter. In comparison, the company ended that same quarter with more than 151 million streaming subscribers worldwide.
Naturally, as the number of DVD subscribers declined, Netflix has also reduced the personnel and infrastructure required to maintain that part of the business. At its peak, Netflix necessitated upwards of 50 distribution centers to manage the storage and shipping of DVDs across the U.S. As of last year, that figure was down to just 17.
Surprisingly, however, DVD subscriptions are still quite profitable for the company. In the previous quarter this year alone DVD shipments contributed nearly $46 million in profits to the company’s bottom line, which explains why the company is keeping the DVD mailing service up and running.