Netflix says its DVD-by-mail customers get to keep their final shipment of discs

Netflix has one final surprise for customers of its 25-year-old DVD-by-mail business (yes, it still exists!) ahead of its September 29th shutdown. They get to keep their last shipment of DVDs without any additional charges for unreturned discs. Earlier this month, the company had offered its remaining customers the chance to receive up to 10 extra discs in their final shipment to have one last binge-fest before the service finally closed.

Customers who opted in before August 29 would receive a selection of random extra discs from their queues. The offer was only available to those in the U.S., however.

The offer was communicated to customers over an email that read:

After 25 years of movies in the mail, we're approaching the end of our final season. We really appreciate that you're sharing movie nights with us until the last day. Let's have some fun for our finale! The "fun" is in seeing just how many discs arrive. Rather than receiving a set amount of extra DVDs, there's no indication of how many will arrive until they show up in their respective red envelopes. Supplies are limited and the final shipping date for all discs, including these random extras, is September 29.

Several media outlets ran with the news of the surprise extra discs, following Netflix's announcement, but didn't make mention of the fact that the discs could be kept.

Now, Netflix has clarified it doesn't want those DVDs back.

In a post to X (formerly Twitter) last night, Netflix announced it's not charging for any unreturned discs after September 29. "Please enjoy your final shipments for as long as you like!," the company instructed.

In other words, customers who opted into receiving the extra discs get to keep them all -- along with the red Netflix envelopes that are sure to become a collector's item at some point, we'd imagine.

Netflix's DVD service has had an incredible run to have lasted this far into the streaming era.

But in its earlier days, customers weren't so thrilled when the company tried to break apart its DVD and streaming businesses into two. After creating the brand "Qwikster" for DVDs in 2011, customer backlash ensued and the plan was soon abandoned. Later, Netflix's then-CEO Reed Hastings admitted that Qwikster became the symbol of Netflix not listening to its customers. Of course, Hastings' move to break apart the businesses was the correct one, though it came a tad too early for customers' liking. In 2012, Netflix acquired the domain and then later separated its DVD-by-mail and streaming businesses once again.

That mail-order business held on for years, despite the shift to streaming that became Netflix's primary focus. This April, Netflix finally announced, 16 years after pivoting to streaming, that the mail-order business would shut down. The business had dropped from $200 million in revenue in 2021 to just half that the following year.

On the company's blog, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote: “To everyone who ever added a DVD to their queue or waited by the mailbox for a red envelope to arrive: thank you.”

Netflix's will ship its final discs on September 29, 2023.

If for some reason customers don't want to keep their final discs, Netflix will accept returns through October 27, 2023.