While streaming is all the rage these days, Netflix hasn’t given up on DVDs entirely: The company has quietly launched a new page where users can sign up for an unlimited DVD-by-mail package that matches the $7.99 price of its unlimited streaming offering.
New users that go to dvd.netflix.com can sign up for an account and start a free trial of the DVD-only service. Once the month is over, users will be billed $7.99 a month into perpetuity — or until they cancel, whichever comes first.
The new plan is targeted at users that like its DVD-by-mail service but aren’t really interested — nor do they want to pay for — its streaming capabilities. Previously users could choose between paying $9.99 a month for unlimited streaming and one DVD out at a time, or they could pay $4.99 for a plan that enabled them to rent just two DVDs by mail a month.
Netflix has been fairly quiet about its DVD-by-mail service, de-emphasizing that part of the business as it pushes its streaming subscription plan. Last fall, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced on an earnings call that viewers watched more streaming video than DVD content for the first time, and much of the company’s investment has been focused on securing new streaming rights. That focus on streaming has paid off for the company: Netflix subscribers grew by 69 percent over the past year, with the company reporting 23.6 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.
But that emphasis has also upset some of its oldest customers: those that originally signed up for its DVD-by-mail service but haven’t taken to the streaming service yet. The company faced a bit of a user uproar when it removed the “Add to DVD Queue” button from its user interface on connected devices, for instance. And a recent redesign of its website, meant to provide more instant access to streaming titles, also took away some functionality that DVD-by-mail users found useful.
The release of an unlimited DVD-only plan, as well as a website that emphasizes the DVD library and DVD queue, should help appease those users who have been frustrated by Netflix’s streaming focus. Netflix is letting those customers know that it still values them and the legacy part of its business.