When it comes to subscription video on-demand services, there is a clear cut king worldwide: Netflix. With 47.5 million subscribers in the U.S. alone - and a whopping 86.7 million worldwide - Netflix's reign atop the streaming pack doesn't seem likely to end anytime soon, despite increasingly tough challenges from competitors like Amazon Prime and Hulu. That said, what many tend to forget nowadays is that Netflix's discs by mail service is still very much a thing, with millions of people still subscribing to it.
Netflix of course began with the mission statement of allowing customers to choose from a large catalog of movies and TV shows on DVD, then have their choices shipped to their home through the mail. When the customer finishes with the current selection, they can send it back and receive the next title in their queue. With so much focus currently on streaming, the above concept already seems a bit like an antiquated idea, but that hasn't stopped over 4 million people from continuing to make use of Netflix's physical DVD and Blu-ray offerings.
With that in mind, Netflix has announced the release of a new mobile app catered specifically to its DVD and Blu-ray subscribers, which enables users to manage their queues, search for available on-disc titles, and get recommendations for what they should watch next. Those features disappeared from the regular Netflix app back in 2011, when the company infamously opted to permanently unbundle its streaming and disc subscription sides. Disc customers wishing to accomplish the above tasks were forced to head to the DVD.com website.
One important factor to note is that this new Netflix DVD and Blu-ray app is only available on iOS devices, at least for the time being. One would assume that a similar Android app is likely in the works, but Netflix hasn't specifically confirmed that as of yet. Still, it wouldn't be like Netflix to want to ignore all their disc customers that aren't currently equipped with an iPhone.
While it might seem inevitable that Netflix will opt to close its DVD and Blu-ray end at some point and focus solely on streaming, reports as recently as last year suggested that the company plans to continue shipping out discs to customers for at least the foreseeable future. One can logically surmise that the money gained by 4 million monthly subscription fees must greatly outweigh the cost of keeping the physical media side alive. If that's the case, they may just keep it going for decades to come. To do otherwise would just be leaving money on the table.