Netflix Bumbles Bonus Disc Offer

When Netflix announced that its disc-by-mail service would end on September 29th, many have wondered what would become of its massive library of discs. Netflix’s division has, after all, shipped a mind-boggling 5.2 billion DVDs and Blu-ray Discs over the past 25 years.

The company shed a tiny bit of light on the subject the other day when it offered its mail-order customers the chance to “have some fun for our finale.” Subscribers who at some point opted in to accept Netflix marketing emails, received this tantalizing, if not perplexing, message in their inboxes:

After 25 years of movies in the mail, we’re approaching the end of our final season. We really appreciate that you’re sharing movie nights with us until the last day.

Let’s have some fun for our finale!

If you click below by August 29th, you could find up to 10 extra discs in your mailbox. These finale discs will be sent out on September 29th, our very last shipping day. You won’t know if any extra envelopes are headed your way until they arrive in your mailbox! [emphasis added]

US only. Limited quantity. While supplies last.

Don’t forget to review your queue and move your must-watch movies to the top.

We wish you happy viewing and truly thank you for being part of our final season. Enjoy each and every red envelope.

--The Netflix DVD team

For mail-order subscribers who didn’t receive the email, Netflix posted a follow-up message on Twitter (now X) yesterday: “In case anyone reading this isn't opted into the marketing emails and wants a shot at getting 1-10 extra discs on the last day... here's the link!”

As cool as it is that Netflix is looking to reward customer loyalty, the message created a fair amount of confusion. Would mail-order subscribers who were lucky enough to get the bonus discs have to return them? Or would they be charged for them? Social media was abuzz with questions.

As of a couple days ago, the consensus among media outlets seemed to be, yes, the discs would have to be returned. On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the discs must be returned and even consulted an entertainment attorney: “Netflix can’t sell or give away its DVDs to customers because the company originally received them through licensing agreements with filmmakers and studios, who own the property.”

Netflix later clarified that surprise bonus discs it ships out do not have to be returned. In a Twitter post, the company wrote: “By the way, a happy clarification in response to all the news headlines out there: We are not charging for any unreturned discs after 9/29. Please enjoy your final shipments for as long as you like!”

Guess you could say the Netflix promo/offer wasn’t all that well thought out. Why not just say, “You can keep any bonus discs we send you.” Nice try, though.

To those who have signed up for the chance to receive a random slate of bonus discs: Good luck!


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hk2000's picture

I was one of their first subscribers. I paid $16 a month, I think it was?, for several months before I finally realized I was probably spending more than I would have if i just bought the DVDs that I ended up watching(maybe 10 or so movies!) I can't believe there are still people paying for mail-order subscription!