« Blockbuster Cranks Up The Holiday Marketing | Main | Netflix "Awaiting Release" Queue »


Doubt it would save them any substantial $$$. It would be pennies to them.

Oh forgot to add.. more risk in the envelope breaking and loosing the dvd if you stuff more than one disc...


I would think that the weight would still make it come out about the same.


First off the mailers are prepaid at standard first class postage of 37 c. With 2 discs you'd need another 23 c. You always could add a stamp for the difference. But the other mailer you have, Netflix or BB already has paid for it.

Are you sure netflix would prefer people do this?

Oh dear lord.


Unless some little birdie from Netflix operations whispered that in your ear, Mike, I wouldn't suggest that approach.

If you wanna help out the company, best to recruit friends.

Joe Katz

Q: I lost the prepaid return envelope used for returning the DVD.
A: If you misplaced one of our prepaid return mailers, you can mail up to two DVDs back in the same package. Or, you may send your DVDs to:

From help page.

They really don't want 3 disc in one envelope, I almost always return two in an envelope just so I have extra around if I loose them.

D Bates

Another plus about sending 2 in at once is they show up at the same time so it can speed up your return a little. It seems if I send 3 back 1 at a time it always takes longer than if I send back 2 in one envelope.


Last time I sent back 2 movies in one envelope (other envelope was damaged getting to me) they claim they only received one movie, and put the other on in my "Lost" list. Never again if I can help it.


Netflix uses "Business Reply Mail" on their return envelopes. Although they and we like to call them "prepaid," that isn't technically accurate. Netflix doesn't pay any postage until and unless the return envelope is delivered back to them. Were you to put your own stamp on it, Netflix wouldn't have to pay.

Putting two disks in one envelope might save them a few cents even if it ups the weight. Multiply it by thousands of customers multiple times per month and it might add up. Although Netflix says we can double up, they don't seem to excited about it, probably because of the potential for damage. Otherwise, they might endorse such a scheme.

The envelopes are already paid for. The only thing this does is increase the chances for things to go wrong. No money is saved doing this. If you throw your envelopes away, Netflix still loses the money on the postage. Its just a bad idea. Only send multiples together if you have to. Lets try to keep all of Netflix's DVDs in one piece.


do NOT do this with BlockBuster movies. They have a deal with the USPS to pre-scan the envelopes and mail out your next movie while the old one is still in the postal system.

///[email protected]


Business reply mail has the familiar stripes on the envelope. The post office doesn't change rules for Netflix or anyone else. Secondly, business reply mail is considerably more expensive and makes sense only when you're not sure what proportion of your mail is coming back to you. If, say, 10% of the customers don't return the discs then it may make more financial sense to them. But if you lose 10% of the discs you have a more serious problem than postal expenses.


The first oz costs 37c. 2 discs together weigh slightly more than an oz and with the weight of the sleeves and the envelope, I'd imagine the postage would be 60c. Maybe netflix has an agreement with USPS not to return envelopes for lack of adequate postage.


"First off the mailers are prepaid at standard first class postage of 37 c"

"The envelopes are already paid for...Netflix still loses the money on the postage."


Netflix uses BRM (business reply mail) and pays NO postage if the envelope is not used.

They have the presort and carrier codes so they do NOT pay $0.37 on outgoing. They will save about $0.22 if you return tow disks together.

Apparently some folks here never get (or notice) on some "prepaid" envelopes (mostly, if not entirely, from non-profit organizations) that say on the envelope that if you add a stamp it will save the organization much need funds . . . or something to that effect.

I don't know for sure if this is the same deal Netflix has with their envelopes. But I wouldn't be suprised at all if it is true. In fact, I'm inclined to believe this is true.


Qualified Business Reply is .34$ for the first ounce, and .23$ for the next ounce. There is an additional .008$ for high-volume qualified customers per piece. A 2 disc package is probably more then 1 ounce.

They pay postage ONLY on items that are actually mailed.

Netflix had to presubmit the envelope for acceptance into this program. They are assigned a zip+4 address specific to their receiving center.

Its not clear whether USPS weighs every package and recalculates postage.

It costs .35$ per disc to process for Netflix in labor and shipping center costs. Handling a 2 disc envelope could be roughly as efficient if the process of printing out a new envelope is cheap and convenient. Among other things, they only have to open 1 envelope and the account holder is pulled up by scanning the barcode they have. I can see processes that minimize this. The bigger problem would be if 2 discs are more prone to damage in shipping, by, for instance, the printed side of one disc grinding against the content side of another.

From the info I have, I can't say whether this is a beneficial practice for them or not.


Where do you see the BRM code? First class BRM mail (nonsorted) is 37c for the first oz PLUS A HANDLING CHARGE. It would make absolutely no sense for them to pay the extra handling charge when they know that pretty much 99% of the envelopes are coming back.
BRM makes sense when you are shooting in the dark (as in the case of nonprofits) and don't know how many return envelopes are coming back. You pay a higher postage but only on the ones returned.
If you want to save money for netflix return one less disc a month. It's as simple as that :)


Oops. I meant RENT one less disc a month.


Aron, I have slightly different numbers 37c + 10c for handling if you pay an annual fee which makes sense only for high-volume customers. Without the fee it's 60c handling fee per piece.
Where did you get the 35c processing cost? Seems too high to me. If you simply divide the fulfilment costs by the number of discs, I got something like 10 - 15 c each way.


OK guys I screwed up. I did some digging around and found that indeed High-Volume Qualified BRM is probably what netflix uses. The postage is actually CHEAPER at 34.8 c for the first oz 57.8 oz for 1 - 2 oz.
I think I'll have crow for thanksgiving:)


Q304 fulfillment: 15M
Avg. Number of Subs: ~2.16M
Disc usage: 6.6/month

15M / (2.16M * (6.6 * 3)) = .3507$

I'm betting you misplaced a *3.

QED ;)

It turns out that sending back two disks does help, but not in the way you think (and not all that terribly much).

And no, I won't say how I know.

No more than two, though - it becomes counterproductive. And there's no point in saving up disks so you can send them back in pairs (it doesn't help enough to justify that). Just do it if you want to have an extra red envelope just in case and happen to have a couple extra to go back the same day, or if you lose a red envelope.

that has to be the most retarded thing i have ever heard!

Nevertheless, it's true.

Putting a stamp on a red envelope doesn't save NF any money. Sending two disks back in one mailer does not save NF any *postage*. The deal they have with the post office is they count how many disks they ship in a day and pay both directions up front.


We've been going round & round. Why prepay for a business reply mail?
The person who posted msg #24, can you weigh in on this?
Also how does it help to send in 2 movies at a time? Does it have to do with inventorying?
Do you know what the postage rates are for outgoing & incoming?


You leave tricky riddle Mr. Anonymous. I got one for you: What part of a DVD when added makes the DVD weigh less?

As for your riddle I would suspect one of these possibilities:
a) processing 2 dvd's in a row reduces the "switching cost" of changing between customers. DVDs sent back in multiple packages are frequently scrambled somewhere in the process.
b) USPS somehow detects the difference (by weight perhaps) and does not run the mail through the drum of death, reducing breakage.
FWIW. A DVD rings in at 13-20 grams or .46-.71 oz according to the good King's Measure and: http://www.mpeg.org/MPEG/DVD/Book_A/Specs.html

(that took a little longer then the average search for me.)
Also, FWIW, Netflix has a patent application on its envelope where they indicate weight as a critical value of the patent. Of course, that didn't stop BB from creating an easier-to-use variant.


you're all wrong. netflix pays about a dime for every dvd they mail icluding the return cost. they get a massive discount for volume and presoting their own mail.


Can you tell us where you're getting this 10cents/both ways figure? It must cost the post office more than 5 cents each way to ship mail.
If you look at Netflix's quarterly reports, postage costs come to be 70 cents or so per disc.
If netflix is doing post office's job, then they are shifting whatever they may gain in mailing costs, they spend in processing & handling.


If I remember correctly, Hastings said that the proposed increase in postal rates would amount to 3 - 5 cents a disc, which again suggests that you don't know what you're talking about.

Ima Fish

I have no idea if this saves Netflix money, but I've been doing this for years without any problem. If I have two movies going back at the same time, I will always put them in the same mailing envelope.

"The bigger problem would be if 2 discs are more prone to damage in shipping, by, for instance, the printed side of one disc grinding against the content side of another."

They're in one mailing envelope, but are still protected in their individual sleeves. There is no rubbing.

"The only thing this does is increase the chances for things to go wrong."

How does sending out half has much mail increase the chances of something going wrong?! That makes no sense. Let's assume that 1% of all mail is lost.* The less you send, the less mail will get lost. Sending less mail cannot increase the chances of something going wrong, it can only decrease the chances.

*I have to point out I've been using Netflix for years with an 8 movie at a time plan (about 10 per week on average) and I've never had a single one lost to me or back from me.


The Envelopes are PRE-paid. Meaning, they already paid for you to send it back.

Would actually be a waste of their money.

The comments to this entry are closed.


Third-Party Netflix Sites