More than 2.5 million users are still getting Netflix's little red envelopes, filled with DVD.com-branded hard copies of movies, delivered to their doors on a monthly basis, according to the streaming giant. There are, according to comments from Netflix spokesperson Annie Jung. The reasons for DVD rentals range from technological limitations -- there are still around 25 million Americans with limited or no access to high speed broadband connections -- to variety and more. While Netflix and similar services largely killed corporate video stores, one thing DVD.com has in common with the Blockbusters and Hollywood Videos of old is that their selection of discs is not subject to being randomly pulled from circulation because of a changing license deal.
As Netflix focuses more on original content, and companies like Disney and Warner Bros. invest in their own streaming platforms, DVD rentals may be a more significant part of the Netflix experience than many users believe, since some of the most popular things on Netflix belong to others who can theoretically change their agreements. Just recently there was a "scare" where Netflix almost lost Friends before re-signing a massive deal to keep it...for now. The lack of licensing issues also means that virtually every movie that has had a mainstream DVD release is still available on the site. That is about 100,000 titles available for DVD rental from Netflix, as opposed to around 6,000 titles to stream.
There is also a quality-of-experience component to the choice: Netflix lacks the variety and curation of traditional video stores, which not only carried a little of everything (as opposed to just what they could get through licensing deals) but were stocked by employees who could develop relationships, and have conversations, with customers to make it easier to make customized recommendations. The Netflix and Amazon algorithms can be effective, but it is difficult, especailly when the "obvious" choice might be something that is not available on the service in question. That, in some ways, makes the Netflix DVD service the closest thing the company has to having everything the audience wants in one place.
"We have a truly deep catalog, and we add new movies and shows every single week," Netflix's Jung told CNN.
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