How’s this for a first-world problem?
Imagine you’re binge watching Breaking Bad. You’re about four episodes in, sitting comfortably sprawled on your couch when all of the sudden something strange happens.
Your DVD stops playing new episodes. In fact, at the end of the fourth episode, the DVD returns you to the disc’s title screen, forcing you to dust the popcorn from your shirt and not only get up from the couch but put another disc into the DVD player.
Netflix has made life a whole lot simpler for most of us with subscriptions, as we no longer have to deal with any interruptions other than a 15 second gap between episodes, barely enough time for a bathroom break.
Our friends over at Cord Cutters News caught a great tidbit from the Netflix earnings report, that barely 11% of Netflix subscribers still use the DVD delivery option, about 5.5 million of Netflix’s 60 million current subscribers.
Taking a trip down memory lane, making the switch from DVDs to streaming service was turbulent for Netflix, with the whole Qwikster debacle forcing Reed Hastings himself to apologize for what was considered at the time a major flub. While fans were quick to forgive Netflix, it helps to remember things were different in 2011, with very few other streaming options as of yet. The landscape is certainly different these days with Hulu, Amazon and a handful of smaller startups all waiting to strike on the next opportunity.
Regardless, from a pure infrastructural perspective, it’s hard to imagine the DVD service will exist much longer, as certainly the costs of both hosting the DVD inventory mixed with a massive shipping operation doesn’t scale in the same way a streaming-only subscription does. It makes a whole lot of sense, especially with Netflix’s plans for global expansion, to focus on developing more streamers and slowly getting rid of their DVD offering.
Now how do they go about that without upsetting five million subscribers? Your guess is as good as mine.