It’s my fault.
I tempted fate.
I drew the attention of the gods.
What other explanation is there?
Less than three months after I wrote a glowing endorsement of their long-running DVD-by-mail service, Netflix announced this week they’re shuttering it in September.
Most people are greeting the news with a surprised shrug and a quizzical, “They still have that?”
But classic film buffs—my people—are in mourning.
We can’t say we’re surprised. We knew this day was coming. According to Variety, the DVD business has eroded to just 0.5% of Netflix’s total revenue.
It’s not just nostalgia. This isn’t like my continued longing for a CD player in my car—I actually have a larger selection of music on my phone than I do in my physical collection, so my attachment to CDs is essentially irrational.
Not so with Netflix DVDs. It remains the best and cheapest way to watch films—classic and foreign films in particular.
Streaming rocks if you want to keep up with the latest prestige TV. Not so much if you’re working your way through Oscar-winning films or the American Film Institute’s List Of Top 100 films.
The Netflix DVD service has a selection that literally blows your mind. For $20 per month (3 disc plan), I get access to 100,000 titles.
How big is that?
According to some internet sleuthing, Netflix streaming has 6,200 titles. That’s right, my DVD plan has 16 times as many titles, and of higher quality. More All the President’s Men, less two veterinarians fall in love at Christmastime. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s what the Hallmark Channel is for.)
In fact, Netflix streaming, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and Disney+ combined have only 53,000 titles.
Netflix DVD has twice that.
Don’t call me a luddite.
Call me a genius.
My fellow film buffs took to Twitter to mourn—there’s a resigned acceptance rather than outrage.
Like the death of an aging loved one, we knew this day would come for our beloved Netflix.
But we’re still sorry it’s here.
I’m not holding out hope for an eleventh hour stay of execution.
I have, however, already reached out to the company asking how they plan to liquidate their existing inventory.
They’ve got a lot of films from the 1930s and 1940s I’d love to take off their hands….
And fear not—the Wednesday film blogs will continue. It’ll take more than the death of Netflix DVD to thwart me from my mission.
See you Wednesday….
*And yes, I made that chart myself. What can I say? I’m a professional Excel chart maker in my day job….