Earlier this year, Netflix announced that it would stop offering DVD and Blu-ray rentals on September 29th. But the company is making a concession for its loyal customers—any discs rented before the September 29th shutdown date do not need to be returned. And if you opt-in to a giveaway, you could win 10 additional discs from Netflix’s massive collection. If you’ve had trouble finding some niche or obscure movies, maybe it’s time to become one of the final Netflix DVD subscribers.
It’s easy to forget that Netflix was once a DVD-by-mail rental service. But this is what the company was known for before it popularized streaming. Customers could select a few DVDs online and get them right at their doorstep with a pre-paid return envelope. And, unlike brick-and-mortar video rental stores, Netflix never enforced due dates or late fees for its rentals. Unreturned disc fees were only charged if you canceled your service without sending back your rentals.
The unreturned disc fee will go away on September 29th. Netflix asks customers to “enjoy your final shipments for as long as you like,” and it won’t accept disc returns after October 27th.
While this may sound oddly generous (especially after Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown), it’s actually a pretty understandable move. The only way to return a Netflix DVD is to stick it into a pre-paid envelope. Netflix probably did the math and realized that many used DVDs and Blu-rays are worth just one or two dollars (this is especially true of Netflix’s discs, which are kept in sleeves instead of the original hard cases). By discouraging customers from returning their DVDs, Netflix can avoid paying the postage on its pre-paid envelopes.
Giving away free DVDs and Blu-ray discs also slims down Netflix’s inventory, which may reduce the labor costs involved in selling, donating, or destroying such a huge collection of discs. Of course, we don’t know what Netflix plans to do with its physical media collection, but it’s safe to assume that the company wants to get rid of this stuff.
If you want one last experience with Netflix’s DVD-by-mail rental service, visit DVD.com and sign up. The cheapest membership tier is just $10 and lets you rent one disc at a time. Be sure to join Netflix’s DVD giveaway, which may grant you an additional 10 free DVDs.