Over 25 years since the first DVD was shipped to a Netflix rental subscriber (it was Beetlejuice on March 10, 1998, by the way), the media company is finally closing down that part of its business. The last such red envelopes with those disks are being mailed to the few remaining rental subscribers today.
Netflix announced in April it would be shutting down its DVD and Blu-ray mail rental business on September 29, although customers can still mail those disks back by October 27. In August, Netflix announced that the final disk rental subscribers in the US could fill up their queue and the company would send them 10 randomly selected disks from that lineup at once before today's deadline.
It's a somewhat quiet end to a part of the home entertainment company that has grown well beyond its disk rental days. Netflix's business model, particularly its no late fees policy, served to completely shut down most physical video and disk rental stores in general, and Blockbuster stores in particular, in the early 2000s.
It even launched its own production company in 2006, which it called, in a nod to its disk delivery method, Red Envelope Entertainment It produced and/or distributed over 100 films for its disk rental service before it closed its doors less than three years later.
Both the DVD rental service and Red Envelope Entertainment served as the embryonic versions of what Netflix would later become as it launched its streaming service. The idea of being able to watch nearly any film or TV show you could want for one monthly fee changed the entire entertainment industry.
While tons of competing streaming services have popped up, Netflix remains the single biggest premium service of its kind, with over 200 million subscribers worldwide. Part of that success is the company's push towards offering exclusive original movies and TV shows, many of which have become pop culture phenomenons like Stranger Things, Bridgerton, and tons more.
Today, even as Netflix continues to run its streaming business and invest in original content for the service, it's also expanding to other areas. It's been publishing and even developing mobile games for a few years now, and it recently started testing a streaming games business in the UK and Canada.
It's also working on big-budget multiplatform games. It recently hired Joseph Staten, the creative director for Microsoft's Xbox shooter Halo Infinite, as the Creative Director for one of these major games. However, it's still a little sad to know that Netflix's starting business model is coming to an end today.