Despite the recent controversy surrounding Netflix, the US-based streaming reigns supreme as one of the most popular services and today is ready to say goodbye to its humble beginnings.
Widely recognised as an over-the-top video-on-demand subscription service featuring a plethora of movies and series, Netflix started in 1997 as a DVD rental website, which will come to an end later this year.
“After an incredible 25-year run, we've decided to wind down DVD.com later this year,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said.
“Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members, but as the business continues to shrink, that's going to become increasingly difficult. So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final discs on September 29, 2023.”
The Netflix DVD service was popular in the US until the company made its transition to streaming services in 2007.
In the early days, Netflix showcased just 1 000 movies online, compared to the 70 000 features available through its DVD rental service which shipped customers DVDs in an envelope.
The rising use of the internet in the mid-2000s bolstered Netflix’s streaming success. It also migrated its customers from DVD to streaming.
Sarandos said that the iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home and paved the way for the shift to streaming.
“From the beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered: the wide variety of the titles and the ability to binge-watch entire series. DVDs also led to our first foray into original programming – with Red Envelope Entertainment titles including ‘Sherrybaby’ and ‘Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion’,” he said.
The global streaming service revealed recently that since its launch in South Africa in 2016, it had contributed R1.8 billion in local South African content, with a further R2.5bn contributed towards the country’s GDP.