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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • Geneseo couple receives 4 billionth Netflix DVD

  • When Joe Green of Geneseo requested a DVD of the action movie “Safe” through his Netflix account, he had no idea his order would mark a major milestone in the company's history.
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  • When Joe Green of Geneseo requested a DVD of the action movie "Safe" through his Netflix account, he had no idea his order would mark a major milestone in the company's history.
    His requested DVD earned the distinction of being the four billionth DVD shipped by Netflix since the company first started in 1998.
    On Jan. 24, Netflix and U.S. Postal System representatives visited Green and his wife, Marcia, at their Geneseo home to formally name the couple recipients of the four billionth shipped Netflix DVD.
    "When they first called and told me, I thought, 'Oh yeah, right.' However, they were very convincing," said Green. "It was a huge surprise, especially for something as big as the four billionth DVD."
    In recognition of the milestone, the Greens received a framed certificate as well as a lifetime Netflix membership; certificates for year-long memberships to present to friends and family; and a Netflix-branded blanket, jacket, notebook and flash drives.
    Sony also provided the couple with a new Sony Blu-Ray DVD player and a selection of Sony Blu-Ray DVDs.
    Green said he and his wife have been Netflix customers since 2006 and like to order action films, as well as "movies for the grandkids and feel-good films."
    "We've always enjoyed having Netflix," said Green. "It's easy. We just go to the mailbox and pick up our movie, and when we're done, we just drop it off in the mailbox."
    For their official tally, Netflix officials count DVDs shipped based upon the moment a customer's mailing label is printed.
    The Greens' address was printed for the DVD "Safe" at Netflix's Des Moines, Iowa, hub on Jan. 8.
    Netflix shipped its three billionth DVD in October of 2010, and company employees knew the next milestone was approaching, said Lee Hall, director of hub operations for Netflix.
    "There's always a nice bit of fun trying to predict which hub will ship the milestone DVD," said Hall.
    In recognition of the achievement, employees at the Des Moines hub were honored at a special breakfast, he said. It is the first time the Des Moines hub has shipped one of Netflix's milestone DVDs.
    In addition to the Greens, Netflix also honored four customers as runners-up.
    "We're shipping DVDs coast-to-coast, and the difference was in milliseconds as to when the labels were printed (for the four billionth DVD)," he explained. "It was a very close contest."
    The Greens' DVD was delivered to their home on Jan. 9 by local postal carrier Dianna Anderson who said she had no idea she was handling the four billionth DVD.
    "We have quite a few (postal customers) who get Netflix DVDs. You get to see a pattern and know which customers you're delivering Netflix to over and over," said Anderson.
    Page 2 of 2 - Geneseo postmaster Robert Dodds said postal employees can tell local residents often have "movie nights" during the weekends.
    "On Monday mornings, we always have a bunch of Netflix DVDs to be mailed back in our outside mailbox. Our carriers also bring back a lot of return DVDs from their routes," said Dodd.
    "It's exciting for us to be a part of the four billionth Netflix delivery. It's not very often something like that happens," said Dodd.
    "We wanted (U.S. Postal Service representatives) to be a part of this celebration. We couldn't do what we do without them. It's a partnership," said Hall.
    Netflix representatives traveled to Geneseo from across the country to celebrate the milestone.
    "It's fantastic for us to get to meet our customers. In our business, we don't actually get to be face-to-face with our customers very often, so it's unique and exciting for us when we do these celebrations," said Hall.
    "And we've fallen in love with (Geneseo)," said Netflix senior postal operations manager Joleen Baxa. "Coming here, we all felt like we've gone back to Mayberry."

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