Blog Post

Netflix not killing DVD after all? Buys just in case

Over the last year Netflix (s NFLX) has had an increasingly complicated relationship with its DVD business. The company separated its streaming-only and DVD-by-mail plans, announced that it was spinning off the business into a separate unit and naming it Qwikster, backtracked on those plans amidst customer revolt and, most recently, split the ratings that exist between its streaming and DVD titles — even when they’re viewed by the same customer.

All of that has resulted in Netflix scaring off a lot of its DVD-by-mail customer base. Some would argue that that’s the point — that Netflix believes so strongly that streaming is the future, that the company is willing to very quickly shed the most profitable part of its business.

Well, not so fast. In its latest schizophrenic move, Netflix acquired the domain Yes, it now owns the eponymous domain for the technology that it oh so wants to kill.

So why’d it buy the thing? Netflix VP of Corp Comms and all-around good guy Steve Swasey explains in one of his brilliantly terse email responses:

“Netflix cares about keeping DVD healthy, and this is just one small investment in keeping DVD healthy.”

Ok then.

For those who care, the domain now forwards users to, which again is the new DVD-only part of Netflix. But since Netflix really, really doesn’t want your DVD money and makes it incredibly hard even for existing subscribers to add the DVD-by-mail option to their existing subscriptions, I can’t see Netflix doing much with it.

8 Responses to “Netflix not killing DVD after all? Buys just in case”

  1. Karen W

    I have a DVD queue somewhere but I can’t access it because I changed to streaming only for a while. Now when I try to change back it still won’t let me see my DVD queue and it won’t let me add Blu-Ray online, when I try it I keep getting the message I have to change my plan. I hate making phone calls to what is supposed to be an online business. No web support at all.

  2. jltyler

    I subscribe to the Netflix DVD-only service (2 out at a time), and my only complaint is that they allow films that I very much want to see to appear on my list that are clearly for streaming only. What’s the point of doing that?

  3. Melissa

    not enough independent films and selection is bad! I never see any new movies on the streaming side, and the movies I do see, are all old!

  4. The bottom line is that the streaming business doesn’t have the quality content that DVD does. The reason is by law the studios have to give Netflix a portion of the DVD business but they aren’t giving them streaming rights. Well the studios are charging Netflix alot of money for content licensing rights when it comes to streaming. Netflix was paying an arm and leg for postage so they thought they could slowly phase that out and go straight to streaming but they won’t get the new titles and that’s why you see crap in the new movie queue and never the hot release.

  5. Netflix still generates the bulk of operating profits from the old DVD by mail system. The company must support the DVD side until the streaming side grows to the point of serious profitability.

  6. The Snobby Robot

    I really dont get it… Their dvd business was/is insanely profitable. Sure its bound to slip over time but why not cross that bridge when you get there? I have no idea what they are planning for it at this point.