Here’s Why Almost 3 Million Americans Still Get Netflix DVDs By Mail

The red Netflix envelopes that began shipping in 1998 still go to 2.7 million subscribers.

Photo by Bildquelle/ullstein bild via Getty Images
ullstein bild via Getty Images

The red Netflix envelopes that began arriving at the homes of customers in 1998 still get delivered to nearly 2.7 million subscribers in the U.S. in 2019

So why is that exactly?

There are a number of reasons, the first of which is that some Americans still live in areas that don’t have enough bandwidth to stream Netflix in an effective way. In fact, according to the FCC, about 24 million Americans live in areas that don’t have adequate bandwidth to seamlessly stream Netflix.

One of those streaming sufferers is Dana Palmateer, who lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “Streaming movies was a no-go, so I just went with the disc service that Netflix offers,” she told CNN. “As all of us are doing it in these parts.”

But customers in areas with stellar broadband also subscribe to Netflix’s disc service for another reason: selection.

While many new titles are not available to stream online, Netflix generally has most new movies as soon as they come out. Also, the service’s back catalog of older movies on disc is far superior to what is available to stream.

By the numbers, there are about 6,000 streaming film and TV titles available online compared to about 100,000 available via DVD.

“The attraction for me is the choice,” said DVD Netflix subscriber Rick Byrne. “There is so much more choice on the DVD service than the streaming.”

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