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Netflix Sleeve

Despite nearly a year of mostly ignoring its DVD-by-mail rental side of the business, Netflix has decided to start allowing people to choose a DVD-only subscription option, the company announced on its blog today.

The option to choose a subscription package that included only DVD rentals disappeared last year as part of the company’s push toward a streaming future, and it was the first in a series of wrong turns the company made. In July, the video rental company decided to raise subscription rates by 60 percent on its combo streaming and physical DVD plans, which caused a huge uproar among its 25 million monthly subscribers. Then in September, CEO Reed Hastings announced that the company was spinning off its DVD-by-mail business into a separate company called Qwikster — a move that caused an even bigger customer backlash. After plenty of negative criticism and a significant dip to its stock price, Netflix decided to cancel its plans for Qwikster.

Netflix’s argument for wanting to get away from DVDs is mostly logical from a business perspective. The cost to ship DVDs continues to rise as does the price of the DVDs and Blu-ray discs over time due to wear and tear. Streaming, on the other hand, doesn’t have shipping costs and will eventually become the dominant form of how people watch movies and TV shows.

Of course, there are plenty of Netflix customers who don’t have access to high-speed internet, and plenty of others that actually enjoy getting DVDs due to extras like audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and more. That said, it’s incredible Netflix waited this long to give people back their DVD-only subscription option.

[Photo via Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar]

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