Netflix long ago turned a cold shoulder on its legacy by-mail DVD rental business, opting instead to focus full time on subscription streaming. The company does not include revenue from packaged media in its fiscal results, and anyone interested in renting discs has to go to a separate website to sign-up.
Netflix’s erstwhile hybrid streaming/DVD/Blu-ray Disc rental option — the cause of the company’s 50% stock plunge and loss of 8 million subs in 2011 after CEO Reed Hastings quietly tried ending the option and change the name of the DVD rental business to the short-lived “Qwikster” business model — no longer exists.
But money is money. And Netflix said it generated $35 million renting discs through the mail in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). Through nine months of the fiscal year, the tally totals more than $112 million, or more than $410,000 a day over 273 days. The streamer stopped reporting packaged-media subscriber numbers a couple of years ago when it had about 2 million subs.
Ten years ago, Netflix’s gross profit margin renting discs topped 48%. Back then, Netflix had 8.5 million standalone disc subs, and 26.2 million hybrid streaming/DVD subs generating $271.1 million in revenue and $130.6 million on operating income.
The gap between those percentages has narrowed considerably over time as the streamer tops 223 million streaming subs worldwide. The service does not rent discs outside of the United States.