While some may consider DVDs a concept that ought to be fossilized and viewed exclusively in museums, others refer to it as a “golden era.” Those that do remember those days fondly know how exciting it felt to receive that crisp, red envelope with a shiny brand new disc in the mail. And that was only 10 years ago.
Netflix, the biggest and most well-known streaming service in the world, has a film library that is unmatched by any other archive of films in the world. While Blockbuster was the OG of video stores (and Erol’s Video Club before them), Netflix has adapted to the streaming world and become a household name.
Just a decade ago, the physical media library owned by Netflix was over 100,000 titles strong, offering a staggering degree of variety that essentially made it the equivalent of the best-stocked video store in the world. At its peak, the number of DVD titles would have outshined the entire streaming libraries of all the major streamers today combined.
In 2022, that DVD library has become a lost treasure — a hollow shell of its former self. But rest assured, Netflix still sends DVDs to its subscribers, but the film library has decreased significantly, exhibiting a lack of interest both from the company as well as moviegoers.
In the face of easy, instant access via streaming, consumers traded in a Netflix library of 100,000 titles for one that as of now has less than 7,000 — and we’re never going to get the former back. Now, customers need access to a larger number of streaming services (each with monthly fees) to match the number of titles that Netflix used to offer.
There are probably a couple of good reasons why Netflix is still putting on a brave face as it stuffs mailers with discs. It’s still profitable, and there are still people who don’t have the necessary bandwidth or tech knowledge to make the switch to the modern age of digital distribution. Plus the nostalgia when physical media was in its prime will always remain for a certain segment of the movie-watching population.
Another great thing about the plan is that you don’t need to subscribe to another streaming service to get the hottest films and TV series. Since licensing rights exist, there’s a big chance that your favorite titles are spread across multiple services, which means you have to sign up for numerous subscriptions. Even if you could afford to do so, there would still be massive gaps in the titles that were available due to contractual issues.
The DVD plan comes with a huge library of films that aren’t even available on the Netflix streaming platform. To give you some perspective, in 2021, Netflix in the U.S. had about 6,074 titles on the streaming platform. Meanwhile, their DVD library boasted over 100,000 titles in 2019.
The biggest new titles on Netflix’s DVD.com include “The Crown,” “King Richard,” “Belfast,” “House of Gucci,” “Matrix Resurrections,” “Billions,” “Yellowstone,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” and more.
If you are a film buff, one of the best things about DVDs and BluRays is all of the extra bonus content that is added onto the disc, such as director commentaries, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, cast and crew interviews, documentaries, and even included material from pre-production, like storyboards, screen tests, and table reads.
There’s a chance that you could save money as well, however, that depends on a number of factors. For instance, an unlimited plan for Netflix DVD is as low as $9.99/month. There’s a possibility that you could be spending way more on other services like Hulu, HBO Max, or Disney+, which can charge upwards of $14.99/month.
You don’t need broadband either! While streaming video from the internet chews up a lot of bandwidth, watching a movie on DVD requires no internet whatsoever. Whether you’re traveling, visiting a friend, or staying in a cheap motel without a stable internet connection, a DVD from Netflix will save you from boredom no matter where you are.
How to Sign Up for a DVD-only Plan as a New Subscriber
New Netflix members can sign up for a Netflix DVD-only plan by going to dvd.netflix.com.
There are two plans to choose from:
- Standard($9.99): rent one disc at a time
- Premier($14.99): rent two discs at a time
Each plan gets you unlimited discs per month, absolutely no late fees, free shipping and returns, and you can cancel at any time.
How to Change Your Netflix Plan
- Sign in to your Netflix account.
- Under Plan Details, select Change Plan.
- Choose the desired plan, then select Update.
- Select Confirm Change.
How Does the Netflix DVD Queue Work?
- Create a list. Pick what you want to watch from the thousands of movies and TV shows.
- Netflix company supplies Netflix DVDs to your mailbox. The disc is sent out the next business day.
- You can enjoy your favorite show and keep the disc with you as long as you want.
- When you’re finished, put the DVD into the prepaid red envelope and put it in the mail.
- After you return it, the next arrives in a rush.
Why You Should Get the Netflix DVD Plan
While Redbox and other companies require you to find a kiosk out in the wild in order to buy a pay-per-view rental, Netflix DVDs arrive directly to you, and you can also keep them for as long as you want, with no due date or late fee. The plan also comes with Blue-ray discs so you can enjoy HD video and high-fidelity audio.
Why You Shouldn’t Get the Netflix DVD Plan
There are three major reasons: prices are going up, the content library is shrinking, and waiting for shipping gets to be annoying.
The Netflix DVD shipment plan used to be $7.99 and now the lowest is $9.99/month, which combines DVDs and Blue-rays into one plan. Redbox only charges $2 for its rentals. Granted, this adds up if you want to watch a lot of movies per month, whereas Netflix has a one-time fee each month for an unlimited amount of discs.
Also, DVD.com’s library has been shrinking, mostly in part due to the shift to streaming. According to Vox, the company’s spending on acquiring DVDs has plummeted. Netflix spent $77 million on buying DVDs in 2016, $54 million in 2017, and $38.5 million in 2018. Netflix is pretty much spending just enough to keep up with the current new releases and reap the rewards.
Another problem that people are having is shipping times. If you’re inpatient, waiting for a disc to arrive in the mail can get annoying, especially when you can go online and find a movie to watch in a matter of seconds.
DVD.com’s downfall is inevitable, however, Netflix is still making revenue due to the fact that a ton of film buffs and Americans with poor broadband access can count on the service to satisfy their entertainment needs. Users generated $37.3 million in profits for Netflix, or $17.34 per user, during the fourth quarter of 2019. The first quarter of 2020 saw a return of $13.09 for every US subscriber.
Final Verdict: to DVD or not to DVD?
Streaming may reign supreme as the most popular content delivery system, but physical media still has its perks.
At its peak, according to contradictory reports, Netflix’s DVD delivery service numbered around 20 million subscribers, and the company was delivering 12 million DVDs per week. Upwards of 50 distribution centers around the country ran the operation, which had shrunk to 17 by 2020, according to The Motley Fool. However, Vox reports that the entire DVD.com operation is run out of a single facility in Fremont, Cali. today.
Whatever the number of facilities may be, this sub-section of Netflix’s business now represents less than one percent of the company’s overall revenue — although DVD.com somehow still makes a profit. It’s such a minor part of the business that Netflix has stopped reporting DVD.com subscription numbers. If we had to guess, the number is likely well under two million. Meanwhile, the streaming version of Netflix reached 221.84 million in Q4 2021.
In short, this is a fading side business for Netflix that will continue to diminish at the same rate as its thinning audience. Perhaps in 2030, when we’re all paying for hundreds of different streaming services just to watch a half a dozen movies on each, those glory days will be more fully appreciated and recognized.
Netflix is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 3,000+ movies, 2,000+ TV Shows, and Netflix Originals like Stranger Things, Squid Game, The Crown, Tiger King, and Bridgerton. They are constantly adding new shows and movies. Some of their Academy Award-winning exclusives include Roma, Marriage Story, Mank, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Netflix offers four plans — on 1 device in SD with their “Basic with Ads” ($6.99) plan, on 1 device in SD with their “Basic” ($9.99) plan, on 2 devices in HD with their “Standard” ($15.49) plan, and 4 devices in up to 4K on their “Premium” ($19.99) plan.
Netflix spends more money on content than any other streaming service meaning that you get more value for the monthly fee.