Those who are still using Netflix's DVD service may find that your shipments have been processing a bit slower. That might be the case if you're in the habit of mailing back your DVD too close to the weekend, as Netflix is no longer processing shipments on Saturday.
It sounds as if Netflix had been planning to do this for a while, and it only just recently went into effect. Engadget says Netflix spokesman Joris Evers confirmed to them that they've been "transitioning in that direction over the past year" and that Netflix ended Saturday processing entirely back in June. Sure enough, if you check out Netflix's Help page, they note that they process shipments Monday through Friday (excluding holidays):
Netflix generally processes shipments Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. When we check in a return, we automatically send an e-mail to let you know we received your disc. We also send you an e-mail letting you know when we have shipped your next disc (generally the same day we process your return).
Engadget's report notes that Saturday is "usually a low volume day," so cutting it out of the schedule may be a good financial choice for the business. But those shipments that do arrive at Netflix on Saturday are going to sit there until Monday, and that presumably adds a day to the turnaround time from when Netflix receives and processes the returned DVD and sends out the next disc in the queue. The site also notes that this move likely saves Netflix money by reducing the number of deliveries for heavy users. One fewer day a week would slow down the number of DVDs an active Netflix renter receives, if they're watching discs and sending them back regularly throughout the month.
For those who rely on Netflix's DVD subscription service to get their movies, this may be affecting their DVD viewing schedule, whether they've noticed it or not. Netflix doesn't have a ton of competition working against it, at least as far as DVDs go. There are plenty of alternative for those who are willing to pay a la carte for their movie rentals, whether it's Redbox or some other local DVD rental option, or digital streaming rental services like iTunes, Amazon and On Demand through cable providers.
As fast and convenient as those options are, the price can certainly add up, especially if you're going with a digital rental, which can cost $4 per movie or more, depending on where and when you rent it and whether or not you opt for HD. Netflix's DVD subscription service offers "unlimited" DVD rentals for $7.99 per month. If you get at least three DVDs a month, you're already saving a noticeable amount of money by comparison to digital rentals. Of course, the trade-off there is having to wait a few days - and now possibly one extra day -- for your DVD to arrive. So the choice to stick with Netflix's DVD service as opposed to switching to digital streaming may already come down to patience on the part of subscribers. Whether or not one fewer processing day a week puts that to the test enough to affect Netflix's subscriber volume remains to be seen.