Blockbuster’s string of poor decisions goes back a pretty long ways, it seems. Ten years ago, BB’s then-CEO John Antioco was approached by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about a potential partnership, which was laughingly brushed aside by the much larger Blockbuster.
The anecdote comes from recently departed Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy, who was with Hastings at the time the partnership was proposed. According to McCarthy:
“I remembered getting on a plane, I think sometime in 2000, with Reed [Hastings] and [Netflix co-founder] Marc Randolph and flying down to Dallas, Texas and meeting with John Antioco . . . Reed had the chutzpah to propose to them that we run their brand online and that they run [our] brand in the stores and they just about laughed us out of their office. At least initially, they thought we were a very small niche business. Gradually over time, as we grew our market [Antioco’s] thinking evolved, but initially they ignored us and that was much to our advantage.”
What if Blockbuster management had not been so short-sighted ten years ago, Insiders? What would the current video rental landscape look like today?