Ancient movie buffs may recall that there was once a time when Netflix delivered DVDs by mail. During this time, when Blockbuster Video dominated the market for movie rentals, the future streaming giant came into existence simply as a home-delivery competitor, offering DVD rentals ordered over the Internet. Now according to a write-up in Comicbook.com, Netflix is looking to close the vestigial remains of its DVD service, with none other than Redbox in the line to buy it.
Redbox, for those of you who get all your groceries from Instacart and DoorDash, is a DVD rental service usually operating outside of grocery stores and bodegas, which was recently bought out by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. With other services such as Blockbuster and Netflix’s DVD division shutting down all across the world, Redbox has rapidly cornered the market on hard-copy film rentals. Though the method may seem a bit archaic in the modern era, which provides a seemingly endless barrage of streaming options, from Paramount+ to Apple TV+ and more, Redbox continues raking in millions each year.
In recent years, Netflix has continued to make innovative business decisions that have shifted the interests of the business further and further from hard-copy rentals, allowing Redbox to take the crown. As Netflix officially prepares to close the final remaining vestiges of the DVD department, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment CEO Bill Rouhana has been aggressively reaching out to purchase the remaining infrastructure. According to Rouhana, he has made multiple offers to the streamer, though Netflix executives don’t seem keen to give him the time of day.
For now, it seems as though Netflix would prefer to shut down the devision entirely than sell it to Redbox or any other former competitors, noting the iconic red-and-white envelope comes with a certain brand recognition the company likely doesn’t want to share. Due to the hands-free nature of the Redbox service, the company only employs roughly 750 people in total, leaving them a far cry from Netflix’s quality control standards. However, the expansive Netflix catalog includes a number of rare and out-of-print films, leaving many fans and corporate execs alike to wonder what the corporation plans to do with its catalog once its DVD division closes its doors for good.
This news also arrives after a recent uptick in physical copy collectors hit the market, citing the impermanence of streaming titles driving greater demand for media ownership. For instance, HBO Max has had a number of exclusive titles unceremoniously removed from the service, leaving subscribers wondering what their best option is to see their favorite media without resorting to sketchy pirating programs. If Netflix fails to offload its DVD library to Redbox or another competitor, it could likely fetch a pretty penny by offering fans and subscribers the option of purchasing their favorite physical copies at a discounted rate.
For now, Netflix seems uninterested in indulging Redbox in its many offers. If you’re still a subscriber of the ancient DVD-by-mail service, you may want to dust off your Internet Explorer tab and cancel before Netflix closes the program out for good. Otherwise, keep an eye out for DVD services in your area, as they’re becoming increasingly scarce.