Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service bows out as its red-and-white envelopes make their final trip

PALO ALTO — The curtain is finally coming down on Netflix’s once-iconic DVD-by-mail service, a quarter century after two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs came up with a concept that obliterated Blockbuster video stores while providing a springboard into video streaming that has transformed entertainment.

The DVD service that has been steadily shrinking in the shadow of Netflix’s video streaming service will shut down after its five remaining distribution centers in California, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey mail out their final discs Friday.

The fewer than 1 million recipients who still subscribe to the DVD service will be able to keep the final discs that land in their mailboxes.

“It’s sad,” longtime Netflix DVD subscriber Amanda Konkle said Thursday as she waited the arrival for her final disc, “The Nightcomers,” a 1971 British horror film featuring Marlon Brando. “It’s makes me feel nostalgic. Getting these DVDs has been part of my routine for decades.”

Some of the remaining DVD diehards will get up to 10 discs as a going away present to loyal customers such as Konkle, 41, who has watched more than 900 titles since signing up for the service in 2006. In hopes of being picked for the 10 DVD giveaway, Konkle set up her queue to highlight for more movies starring Brando and older films that are difficult to find on streaming.

At its peak, the DVD boasted more than 20 million subscribers who could choose from more than 100,000 titles stocked in the Netflix library. But in 2011, Netflix made the pivotal decision to separate the DVD side business from a streaming business that now boasts 238 million worldwide subscribers and generated $31.5 billion in revenue year.

The DVD service, in contrast, brought in just $146 million in revenue last year, making its eventual closure inevitable against a backdrop of stiffening competition in video streaming that has forced Netflix to whittle expenses to boost its profits.

“It is very bittersweet,” said Marc Randolph, Netflix’s CEO when the company shipped its first DVD, “Beetlejuice,” in April 1998. “We knew this day was coming, but the miraculous thing is that it didn’t come 15 years ago.”

Although he hasn’t been involved in Netflix’s day-to-day operations for 20 years, Randolph came up with the idea for a DVD-by-service in 1997 with his friend and fellow entrepreneur, Reed Hastings, who eventually succeeded him as CEO — a job Hastings held until stepping aside earlier this year.

Back when Randolph and Hastings were mulling the concept, the DVD format was such a nascent technology that there were only about 300 titles available at the time.

In 1997, DVDs were so hard to find that when they decided to test whether a disc could make it thorough the U.S. Postal Service that Randolph wound up slipping a CD containing Patsy Cline’s greatest hits into a pink envelope and dropping it in the mail to Hastings from the Santa Cruz, California, post office.

Randolph paid just 32 cents for the stamp to mail that CD, less than half the current cost of 66 cents for a first-class stamp.

Netflix quickly built a base of loyal movie fans while relying on a then-novel monthly subscription model that allowed customers to keep discs for as long as they wanted without facing the late fees that Blockbuster imposed for tardy returns. Renting DVDs through the mail became so popular that Netflix once ranked as the U.S. Postal Service’s fifth largest customer while mailing millions of discs each week from nearly 60 U.S. distribution centers at its peak.

Along the way, the red-and-white envelopes that delivered the DVDs to subscribers’ homes became an eagerly anticipated piece of mail that turned enjoying a “Netflix night” into a cultural phenomenon. The DVD service also spelled the end of Blockbuster, which went bankrupt in 2010 after its management turned down an opportunity to buy Netflix instead of trying to compete against it.

Even as video streaming boomed, movie lovers like Michael Fusco stuck with the DVD service because it still offered films that were no longer shown in theaters and couldn’t easily be found in stores. When Netflix announced its intention to close the DVD service five months ago, Fusco expanded his subscription plan so he could rent as many as eight discs at a time at a cost of $56 a month.

Fusco, 36, got his money’s worth, especially in August when he watched 32 DVDs sent to him by Netflix.

“I was very strategic,” said Fusco, who also thought carefully about what films to pick as his final selections after watching more than 2,400 titles during his 18 years as subscriber. The Southern California resident is now awaiting a Spanish comedy, “Solo Con Tu Pareja,” as his final disc and also set up his queue to highlight films by Harrison Ford (“Mosquito Coast”), Tom Hanks (“Joe Versus The Volcano”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Twins”) should he be among those picked for the final 10-disc giveaway.

Randolph and Hastings always planned on video streaming rendering the DVD-by-mail service obsolescent once technology advanced to the point that watching movies and TV shows through internet connections became viable. That expectation is one of the reasons they settled on Netflix as the service’s name instead of other monikers that were considered, such as CinemaCenter, Fastforward, NowShowing and DirectPix (the DVD service was dubbed “Kibble,” during a six-month testing period)

“From Day One, we knew that DVDs would go away, that this was transitory step,” Randolph said. “And the DVD service did that job miraculously well. It was like an unsung booster rocket that got Netflix into orbit and then dropped back to earth after 25 years. That’s pretty impressive.”

Iowans with disabilities need to be well prepared for emergencies, storms

By Matt Kelley (Radio Iowa)

Iowans of all ages and abilities need to be prepared for severe weather, but people with mobility issues — either due to a disability or age — need to be especially conscious of where they would seek shelter in case of emergency.

Emily Holley, regional communications manager for the Nebraska-Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, has issues with severe chronic pain and she walks with a cane.

“For my family, we have a spot under the basement stairs that we get to,” Holley says, “however, if there was a time where I was unable to get down those stairs, we have a windowless room, the laundry room, where I would go.”

Holley says she has a “go bag” that contains an array of emergency supplies, like fresh water, non-perishable food, and a flashlight, along with other essentials, like a battery power pack to charge a phone. “Folks using various mobility devices, especially those that depend on electricity, you want to make sure that you have at least three days worth of power supply,” Holley says. “You want to make sure that you are able to utilize those devices that are helping you function.”

Consider that safe spot in your house an emergency shelter and outfit it with whatever you might need, including snacks and medications. “We always recommend folks have a battery-powered or crank radio so that you can hear what’s going on,” Holley says. “You also want to make sure that you have the ability to protect your head. I like to recommend that folks keep a bicycle helmet for each of the family members in that tornado shelter.”

The Red Cross has an Emergency App that’s free and Holley says it will come in very handy when you need it. “It gives lots of preparedness tips for people in different circumstances and different locations,” Holley says. “You can also set up warnings throughout the country. For example, my sister lives in Massachusetts, and I have her location set up, so in the event that some severe weather is hitting her location, I get an alert.”

It’s important to plan what you’d do in an emergency and Holley suggests holding a drill with the entire family twice a year. Find more tips at: www.redcross.org

Central RED Hosts Experiences at the FBI National Academy

PELLA — Central College’s Central RED Society will present “Experiences at the FBI National Academy,” with Paul Haase, Pella Police Department captain, Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. with the presentation beginning at noon in the Dave ’61 and Ardie Sutphen ’64 Common Room, Graham Annex, on Central’s campus. The cost is $10. Membership in Central RED is required to attend.

The FBI National Academy is an executive law enforcement leadership training program held in Quantico, Virginia. Haase attended the FBI National Academy in September 2022.

Haase joined the Pella Police Department in 2002 and has held many positions within the department before being promoted to police captain in 2020. Prior to his career in Pella, Haase was a member of the Iowa Army National Guard 186th Military Police Company beginning in 1996. He was deployed to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

Central RED (Ready to Engage and Discover) is a volunteer-driven, lifelong learning and social organization with an abiding partnership with Central alumni and friends who wish to share knowledge, talents and experiences. Members pay $20 annually to join Central RED.

No affiliation with Central is required to join. For more information, visit central.edu/red or contact Mary Benedict at benedictm@central.edu or 641-628-7641.

Youth Outdoor Field Day is Tomorrow

OSKALOOSA — Mahaska County Conservation invites the public to bring the kids and family to the 20th Annual Youth Outdoor Field Day at the Russell Wildlife Area on Saturday, September 30th any time between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm. When you arrive at the event sign in at the registration table.  Kids will receive a activity punch card to earn a prize!  Once registered families can hike the trails and participate in activities of their choice.

Cost of the event is $10 per person (kids & adults) from now through the day of the event. Registration forms can be found at www.mahaskaconservation.com under the Events tab if you wish to register before the event.

Families can hike around the Russell Wildlife Area and experience many fun outdoor activities:
Dutch oven cooking
.22 shooting

Water safety
Fossil digging
Disc golf
Tree ID
Make and take seed balls
Mahaska County Sheriff K-9 dog “Rocco”

Nature Craft
and MORE!

The Russell Wildlife Area is located 5 miles north of Oskaloosa at 2254 – 200th St., New Sharon, IA, 50207.  If you have questions, contact the Mahaska County Conservation Board at 641-673-9327 or email decook@mahaskaconservation.com.

Senators nix casual clothing as bipartisan resolution sets new dress code for Senate floor

WASHINGTON (AP) — No shorts on the Senate floor.

The Senate voted Wednesday evening to reverse an informal guidance issued by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week that senators could wear what they want when voting or speaking in the chamber. The resolution, passed by voice vote with no objections, requires that ”business attire be worn on the floor of the Senate, which for men shall include a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants.” It did not specify what women should wear.

The bipartisan resolution by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, comes after backlash to Schumer’s announcement that staff for the chamber’s Sergeant-at-Arms would no longer enforce a dress code on the Senate floor. The guidance came as Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman has been unapologetically wearing shorts and sweatshirts around the Senate, voting from doorways so he didn’t walk on the chamber floor and get in trouble for his casual dress.

“Though we’ve never had an official dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing one is the right path forward,” Schumer said Wednesday evening, as the resolution by Manchin and Romney passed.

Schumer also thanked Fetterman for ”working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable.”

The majority leader’s original guidance last week was met with immediate pushback in the more formal Senate, with many lawmakers in both parties arguing that the Senate floor should have some standards for dress. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he was “concerned” about it. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that senators “ought to dress up to go to work.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, jokingly declared she would wear a bikini to work the next day.

Fetterman mocked the critics, telling reporters that senators should be focusing on more important things. But he also said that he may not even take advantage of the change. Shortly after the guidance was released, a shorts-wearing Fetterman voted from the doorway, telling reporters that it was “nice to have the option” but he didn’t plan on overusing it.

Senators praised the bipartisan change after it was passed on Wednesday evening.

″God bless COMMON SENSE,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Secretary Pate and Auditor Advisory Group urge Iowans to turn to trusted sources for election information

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate and his Auditor Advisory Group are once again working together to serve as trusted sources for information leading into the 2023 City-School Election. Together, the election officials are preparing to dispel election misinformation and disinformation ahead of the election this November and are urging Iowans to turn to trusted sources for election information.

There has been an alarming increase in the spread of false claims regarding elections across the country despite there being no evidence of intrusions into Iowa’s election systems. Secretary Pate and the county auditors also stand united in their support of the bipartisan teams of poll workers that will work at voting sites this November.

Iowa is ranked third in the nation for election administration, and Secretary Pate and the Auditor Advisory Group are sending a message that Iowans can be assured elections in the state are some of the safest and securest in the country.

There are multiple steps taken to ensure election integrity:

  • Iowans vote on paper ballots.
  • Public testing of voting equipment occurs before each election.
  • Post-election audits are conducted in all 99 counties.
  • Collaboration around cybersecurity protections with agencies like the Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Voter ID instituted at the polls and on absentee ballot requests.

“In addition to the many steps election officials take each year to ensure safe and secure elections in our state, we have 10,000 Iowans who step up each election to be poll workers,” said Secretary Pate and the auditors in a joint statement. “Poll workers are trusted faces in your community, they are your friends and neighbors. Iowans from both sides of the aisle play a key role in protecting the integrity of our vote, and we have the highest respect for their service.”

Secretary Pate’s office has also developed an Election Security in Iowa webpage to counter misinformation and disinformation. It includes a Myth vs. Fact section, a detailed breakdown of the many security measures Iowa has put in place to protect elections, and a five-minute video that details how ballots and election equipment are maintained.

The members of Secretary Pate’s Auditor Advisory Group and the county each represents include:

  • Amanda Waske – Ringgold
  • Rebecca Bissell – Adams
  • Robin Batz – Calhoun
  • Shelley Wolf – Bremer
  • Barb Rohwer – O’Brien
  • Mandy Berg – Adair
  • Melissa Wellhausen – Page
  • Tibe Vander Linden – Muscatine
  • Hayley Rippel-Benton
  • Whitney Hein-Jones

Donald Trump to Speak at Bridge View Center This Weekend

OTTUMWA — 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump will deliver remarks at a Team Trump Iowa Commit to Caucus Event in Ottumwa, Iowa on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at 2:30PM CDT.

Doors open at 11:30am with a Commitment Kick Off.  Trump is expected to deliver remarks at 2:30pm.

General Admission tickets are available at https://event.donaldjtrump.com/events/45th-president-of-the-united-states-donald-j-trump-to-deliver-remarks-at-team-trump-iowa-caucus-commitment-event-in-ottumwa

Oskaloosa Police Seeking Information on Burglary, Assault Suspects

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating two suspects in a burglary and assault that took place yesterday morning.

On September 27, 2023, at approximately 7:52 a.m., members of the Oskaloosa Police Department were dispatched to Santa Clara Apartments about an altercation that neighbors reported. When officers arrived, they were informed that Clarissa Marie Schutjer, 32, of Oskaloosa, and Jacob Parke Lewis, 36, of Beacon, had just left the residence. Initial investigation revealed that Schutjer and Lewis had entered the apartment unlawfully. While in the apartment, Schutjer allegedly forced her way into a locked bedroom and assaulted the victim. During the altercation, one adult and one juvenile victim were injured but did not require medical attention. Attempts to locate the suspects were unsuccessful, so arrest warrants were sought and obtained.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Schutjer and Lewis for Burglary 2nd Degree (Class C Felony) and two counts of Assault (Simple Misdemeanor). Please call the police department if you know the location of these suspects.

Indians Swept by the Dutch

By Sam Parsons

Oskaloosa hit the road for a short trip to Pella yesterday looking to improve upon their 2-1 conference record and build upon their back-to-back 5-set wins, but ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the 14th ranked Pella Dutch.

The night featured plenty of competitive volleyball between the two squads, but each set included one massive run by Pella. In the first set, the run happened right away: Pella jumped out to an 11-2 lead and cruised the rest of the way to a 25-17 victory in the set, going back-and-forth with the Indians.

The second set was a mirror image of the first. Osky and Pella dueled back and forth until the Indians led 17-15, and Pella proceeded to finish the set on a 10-1 run to win 25-18 and go up 2-0.

The third set looked promising for the Indians for a while. They led 16-9 and appeared poised to make it 2-1, but the Dutch proceeded to embark on their most impressive run of the night, scoring 11 consecutive points, surrendering one on a service error, and then closing the set with 5 straight points on top of that to make it a 16-1 run that gave Pella the set victory 25-17. That completed the sweep for Pella, 3-0.

The Indians (9-10) will visit Newton for their penultimate conference match next Tuesday.

Taylor Swift is a fan of Travis Kelce and suddenly, so is everyone else

NEW YORK (AP) — Taylor Swift’s trip to watch the Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce play football on Sunday didn’t just have the internet talking nonstop. Following the 12-time Grammy Award winner’s appearance at Arrowhead Stadium, jersey sales for the All-Pro tight-end seemingly skyrocketed.

According to sportswear and fan merchandise company Fanatics, Kelce was one of the top 5 selling NFL players Sunday. He “saw a nearly 400% spike in sales throughout the Fanatics network of sites, including NFLShop.com,” a spokesperson told The Associated Press via email.

Sales spiked on the same day that Swift was spotted in Kansas City, watching the Chiefs play the Chicago Bears alongside Kelce’s mother, Donna, from one of the football stadium’s glass-enclosed suites.

Kelce did not speak to reporters afterward, but he was spotted leaving Arrowhead with Swift by his side.

Still, just about everyone in the Kansas City locker room was buzzing about the news after Sunday’s game, including coach Andy Reid, who joked that “I set them up.”

Swift has always been reluctant to discuss her personal life in public, but rumors have been flying about the popstar and the pro football player in recent months — notably after a July episode of Kelce’s “New Heights” podcast, when he said he was disappointed that he didn’t get to meet Swift and gift her a friendship bracelet during Kansas City stop on her Eras Tour. In a later appearance on the “The Pat McAfee Show,” Kelce revealed that he invited Swift to watch him play.

Swift is currently on a break from her Eras Tour, which resumes Nov. 9 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Beyond jersey sales, the NFL has also met the internet hype of Swift’s trip to Arrowhead. As of Tuesday, the NFL’s bio on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, read “NFL (Taylor’s Version)” alongside a photo of Swift and Donna Kelce watching Sunday’s game.


Stay updated, sign up for our newsletter.