Netflix didn’t have a great 2022, and it looks like there’s some big changes afoot in 2023. If you were into old-fashioned password sharing, then bad news: As long-threatened, they’re finally ready to crack down on that this quarter. Speaking of classic Netflix features going away, by the end of the summer they’re also deep-sixing the one that one it all: renting DVDs (or, these days, Blu-rays) by mail.
First things first, Variety reports that the streamer has decided to broaden their “paid-sharing” plan, in which someone with a Netflix account can team up with one or two other households for a joint account, at an extra monthly fee. It’s cheaper than everyone getting their own account — though not as cheap, of course, as one household sharing their password with others.
Last year, Netflix effectively beta-tested that feature out in three countries, namely Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. At first it didn’t go well, but earlier this year they expanded it to Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. In a letter to their shareholders, the company said they’ve been “pleased with the results,” enough to expand it to the U.S. at some point this quarter.
About this time last year, Netflix claimed that passwords were being shared with over 100 million other households. During their Q4 earnings review last year, company co-CEO Greg Peters admitted that cracking down on password-sharing “will not be a universally popular move,” comparing it unfavorably to losing customers whenever they jack up prices.
But what of those last stragglers hanging onto the old fashioned way of using Netflix: renting physical discs over the mail? As per Deadline, they’re out of luck, too. On Tuesday the company revealed they were planning to end that feature in the fall. The last discs will be mailed out on September 29. All discs must be returned by October 27.
Thus brings an end to an era that began 25 years ago, well before the age of streaming or even widely-available high-speed internet. At the height of DVD-by-mail, in the mid-aughts, one could rent three discs at a time, mailing them back as quickly as possible. That meant if you wanted to binge an entire season of Mad Men, it would take you a week, maybe longer, rather than one slothful weekend. Pour one out for two real ones.