Amazon has shut down the DVD and Blu-Ray rental service of on-demand media company Lovefilm in the UK and Germany. The service was once leader in a market that is now dominated by Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services.

The Lovefilm By Post service will cease operations on 31 October, with Amazon - which acquired the company in 2011 - citing "decreased demand" and an increase in streaming numbers as reasons for the decision.

Lovefilm was founded in 2002 and at the time of Amazon's acquisition had 1.4 million subscribers who could view TV shows and films online, as well as rent DVDs, Blu-Rays and video games by post.

Depending on the subscription, users could rent one or multiple discs at a time but could only be sent new discs once older ones had been returned.

Amazon purchased the company to bolster its own streaming ambitions with Amazon Prime.

Prime is now one of the main rivals to Netflix and produces its own original and award-winning programming, including Transparent, The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle.

With Lovefilm's streaming side folded into the Amazon Instant Video service, the end of physical rentals marks the demise of Lovefilm.

"We have very much enjoyed delivering the Lovefilm By Post service to our customers," said an Amazon statement. "However, over the last few years we've seen a decreasing demand for DVD and Blu-ray rental as customers increasingly move to streaming. We are committed to finding alternative roles for all Lovefilm employees within Amazon."

Lovefilm was the reason I belatedly got round to watching Alien many years ago, so for that I am eternally grateful. RIP.