Netflix Employee Talks DVD Germs

Chris CrumIT Management

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You may not hear as much about Netflix's DVD business as you used to since streaming has taken over in recent years, but plenty of enveloped discs still circulate around the country on a day-to-day basis. Last month, the company said it still has 6.9 million DVD members.

There's a good reason for that. The selection is far greater than what Netflix's streaming service provides, though you need that if you want the originals like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black (at least the current seasons).

Ever wondered how many germs are on those DVDs that go from house to house? Well, you're not the only one.

The subject came up on Quora recently, where a Netflix employee chimed in to talk about the company's disc cleaning process. James Schek, who works on the Netflix Content Delivery Network, said:

After a DVD is received at a distribution center, it is cleaned and sanitized before being put back into distribution. Even if they were not cleaned, a particular distribution center only services a single geographic area. It's unlikely that a discs going through a single distribution center could spread a pathogen around the entire country.

In the case of the flu, this isn't an issue anyway. The flu virus can only survive for 2 to 8 hours on a hard surface. Generally, there is more than 8 hours of elapsed time between the time a customer puts a DVD in the mail and it is opened by the next customer.

This topic came up back in 2009 when East Texas' KLTV (via Hacking Netflix)put six DVDs under the microscope, and found "nothing that could potentially cause disease."

Still, people should probably stop putting their tongues on DVDs, which is apparently quite common in the stock photography world. Also, it might not be a bad idea for Netflix to keep any DVD-delivering drones out of the men's room.

Images via ThinkStock, YouTube

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.