Thursday, June 30, 2005

Pity the poor USPS

I bet you that Netflix is one of the largest customers the USPS has, if not THE biggest.

Netflix says they ship over a million discs each day, so divide that by 35,000 titles, and you get an average of 28 copies of each title. It's more likely that they have hundreds of copies of some titles, and only one or two of others.

This figure also means that an average of 77% of their inventory is rented each day, leaving each distribution center nearly empty at the end of the day.

A million shipments each day, divided by 35 distribution centers, means an average distribution center ships about 28,000 discs each day. I know that Sunnyvale, CA ships 100,000 per day, so that means there are some facilities that ship far fewer. Still, imagine how big a truck you would need to hold that many.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I divided the 45,000 total unique titles available by the 35,000 which are rented each day.

  3. My interpretation of these statistics is somewhat different. According to the link:
    1) Netflix has more than 45,000 titles and more than 40 million DVDs total.
    2) On average, Netflix ships one million DVDs each day.
    3) On any given day, about 35,000 of the 45,000 titles available at Netflix are in distribution.

    I think that the amount of inventory (total stock of DVDs) sent out to customers daily is: (1 million DVDs shipped per day) divided by (total stock of 40 million DVDs). According to this calculation, 2.5 percent of the total Netflix inventory of DVDs is shipped out per day.

    The 35,000 titles in distribution divided by the 45,000 total titles available indicates a broad range of demand (customers aren't just watching the top 100 blockbusters), in terms of customer taste. It doesn't really indicate how empty the warehouses are (see the previous paragraph for an indicator of that).

    Of course, I suppose much depends on how one defines "inventory" in this context.

  4. If 2.5% of titles are "shipped out" each day, then I conclude that 97.5% are "out" each day.

  5. you're not good at math, are you?!!