September 19, 2023
With Netflix ceasing DVD rent-by-mail operations as of September 29, a market opportunity has been identified by Seattle, Washington-based independent Scarecrow Video, which wants to step into the role vacated by the streaming giant. Described as the largest remaining video retailer in the U.S., Scarecrow began experimenting with a rent-by-mail program in 2019, offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs delivered to mailboxes across the country. While rare titles are excepted from the rent-by-mail program, and applications to participate in the program must be individually approved, Scarecrow has proclaimed the program a success.
“Scarecrow’s rent-by-mail website is live, with step-by-step instructions on how to avail of the service and a searchable library divided by genres,” Engadget reports, noting that approved users will be able to add to their cart with titles that “are priced individually,” but will cost “$12 for up to six discs.”
If one title has multiple discs, each counts individually, and the limit is six. The rental period is 14 days, which includes shipping, but rentals can be renewed by phone or kept beyond the stipulated period with the addition of late fees. In 2021, The Seattle Times reported Scarecrow launched a fundraising campaign so it could upgrade its website to make it more searchable and easy to use.
Scarecrow “has a massive library of movies,” writes Gizmodo, noting that “though it might cost more than that now-defunct [Netflix DVD-by-mail] service, it makes up for it with the utter variety of movies on offer.”
Scarecrow’s “long legacy” dates back to the 1980s, Gizmodo says, explaining that “since then, it has amassed a library of well over 146,000 titles,” according to the store’s website.
“By comparison, Netflix streaming users in the U.S. have access to a library of around 6,000 movies and TV shows, according to data compiled by the VPN Surfshark. More than half of those are Netflix originals,” Gizmodo reports.
How-To Geek is among those that thinks DVDs are still worth the effort, noting “DVDs often have better quality than their streaming versions.” And what cinephile wants to miss those illuminating director commentary tracks and other notable DVD extras?
As Netflix Ends Its DVD Rental Service, Scarecrow Steps In, Digital Trends, 9/14/23
Netflix DVD Is Letting Subscribers Keep Their Final Shipment of DVDs, Gizmodo, 8/22/23
Netflix Says You Can Keep Their DVDs (and Request More, Too), The New York Times, 8/24/23