Netflix: DVD shipments resume after 3-day glitch

After three days of sporadic DVD-by-mail deliveries to customers, Netflix Inc. said Friday that the technical glitches that caused the problems have now been repaired and regular shipments are resuming.

In a post Friday on the Netflix Community Blog, the company apologized for shipping delays and said that "all of our shipping centers are resuming normal operations after experiencing three days of significant issues."

The problems were companywide, affecting customers served by all of Netflix' 55 DVD distribution centers across the nation.

Steve Swasey, a spokesman for the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company's Netflix.com Web site, said the DVD movie rental company will not detail whether the problems were IT hardware- or software-related. He said the problems "affected all of our shipping."

"We haven't said why [problems occurred]," Swasey said. "We've done our internal diagnosis, of course [but] we're not going to get into it publicly. We worked on it feverishly ... and we informed all our members" about the situation.

The shipping problems, which began Tuesday, affected about one-third -- or 2.8 million -- of Netflix's 8.4 million members, Swasey said. The company normally ships about 2 million DVDs to members via mail, and gets an equal number in exchange from members returning movies. No DVDs at all went out Tuesday to customers.

"We are shipping today," Swasey said. "We started shipping again yesterday," though only part of the ordered DVDs went out.

Customers waiting for DVDs to be shipped since Tuesday will "with rare exception" have them shipped Friday, the blog said, for receipt on Saturday. Because of the delays, the company is giving affected members a 15% credit on their next billing statement, while extending the free trials of new customers by one week, according to Friday's blog post.

"Rest assured that we are taking aggressive steps to fully understand the root cause of this week's problems and safeguard against issues like these in the future," the blog said.

The DVD-by-mail company suffered a service disruption in March, when shipments didn't go out for one day, but that unrelated to the most recent problem, he said.

The company publicized its efforts to track down the problem in its Netflix Community Blog, beginning with a post on Tuesday by Andy Rendich, head of operations for Netflix. Rendich blamed "a technology issue" for the problems.

In a blog update Thursday, he wrote that Netflix wasn't certain when the problems would be corrected. "The issues we've faced over the last several days have been significant and there's no guarantee at this point that our shipping operations will be fully restored by tomorrow," he wrote. "We'll again be working throughout the night and will update you in the morning. Thanks for now and continued apologies."

Netflix offers nine membership levels to customers, with DVD rental plans offering from two to an unlimited number of DVD rentals each month. Netflix also offers streaming movies online. The company said it stocks 55 million DVDs covering 100,000 movies in its 55 warehouses. Millions of copies of about 46,000 movies of the movies in stock are in the hands of members each day, according to the company.

Juan Carlos Perez of the IDG News Service contributed to this story.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Market Place

[]