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End of an era

Netflix shuts down DVD service

Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service peaked in 2011 with more than 14 million subscribers.

Netflix is ending its DVD-by-mail service at the end of the month.

Now known primarily as a video streaming service and content producer, the company started in 1997 by renting DVDs by mail in red envelopes that became iconic.

By 2009, the company had more than 10 million subscribers to its DVD service and was shipping 900 million DVDs a year through the Postal Service, accounting for 1.3 percent of all mail in the United States.

The company’s DVD service peaked at 14 million subscribers in 2011.

But competition from video streaming — including Netflix itself — led to a sharp decline in demand for DVD rentals, both from the company’s mail service and from neighborhood video stores.

Neflix’s DVD subscribers fell to 2.1 million by 2019, the last year the company reported that figure in public filings.

In 2019, the company celebrated shipping its 5 billionth DVD through the U.S. Mail.

Netflix will mail its final discs on Sept. 19.