Netflix: Rental-by-Mail Has Five Years Left (Subtext: Discs Have Five Years Left)

At Netflix Investor Day, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings revealed their timeline for the end of the rental-by-mail biz, and why they're digging so hard into digital distribution: It "will probably peak in the next five years." Taken more broadly, it's more or less predicting that the real end of physical media is in T minus five years—'cause presumably, as long there are discs, Netflix's model assumes you'll get 'em from Netflix. While the end of physical media has been predicted lotsa times, it's rare that a company puts a death sentence on its core business, so this isn't the cheap willy-nilly futurism we're used to gagging on. [Reuters via Alley Insider]