It’s the official end of Netflix’s DVD era: The company is mailing out its very last red envelopes on Friday, Sept. 29. As a parting gift to its loyal DVD-by-mail members, Netflix will let them keep any discs they still have out.
The company, which launched as a DVD subscription service 25 years ago, announced this spring that it would wind down the business — which, superseded by streaming, has been dwindling for years. Netflix has shipped more than 5 billion DVD and Blu-ray rentals over that time. At its peak in 2011, the company’s DVD-by-mail service (which was only available in the U.S.) hit 20 million customers.
More from Variety
As part of the final DVD shipments on Sept. 29, customers may be getting up to 10 extra red envelopes, randomly selected from their queues, if they opted in to the “finale surprise” promo. A Netflix rep confirmed that customers will not be charged for any unreturned discs but added that the company will continue to accept DVD returns until Oct. 27 for those who wish to send them back.
The very first DVD that Netflix sent out was 1988’s “Beetlejuice.” Netflix said the very last disc dropped in the mail was the Coen brothers’ 2010 “True Grit,” starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin.
Netflix’s first mailing envelope back in 1998 was actually white, switching to yellow in 2000 before finally settling on the iconic red in 2001. Since then, the company has enlisted artists to design the interior envelope with everything from holiday celebrations to business milestones. The final envelopes Netflix mailed in September took a trip down memory lane by featuring several favorites.
As part of commemorating the final disc shipments, Netflix is launching a DVD sleeping bag that looks like one of its red envelopes (priced at $50) via its online store.
In addition, Netflix this week transformed its marquees on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. and Times Square in New York City to thank the millions of members who watched DVDs with us. The installation on Sunset was composed of actual DVDs and red envelopes:
Watch Netflix’s “thanks for watching” farewell video to its DVD customers:
Pictured above: DVDs awaiting shipment at Netflix’s San Jose facility in 2002
Best of Variety