Netflix Founder: Blockbuster Laughed At Us When We Approached Them

Marc Randolph On His New Book "That Will Never Work"

The Rich Zeoli Show
October 17, 2019 - 10:39 am

Stephen Shugerman / Stringer

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Blockbuster streaming service, a silly concept now, but it almost happened in the early stages of Netflix.

Founder and former CEO of Netflix, Marc Randolph, joined The Rich Zeoli Show discussing his new book “That Will Never Work” and how Netflix grew to the powerhouse that it is today. When Netflix was only a DVD service, it took some luck for the business to grow.

“So many ideas are dependent on luck. I’ll certainly put Netflix in that category. It requires a lot of things to break right for it. And certainly we bet really early on the DVD. We bet on that before it was even in wide distribution and it worked, Randolph said.”

Randolph also mentioned to Zeoli when the company was seeking to raise money for Netflix, they went right to their soon-to-be competitor, Blockbuster, for a buyout.

“We also bet that Blockbuster would be slow to respond. In fact, as you mentioned, at one point when we were desperate trying to raise that money we talked about earlier, we actually went to Blockbuster. We flew to Dallas and we pitched them on buying the company. When they asked how much we wanted for it we told them $50 million, they laughed at us. Boy that was both a missed opportunity for Blockbuster but also in many way a real lucky break for us.”  

Randolph also encouraged any aspiring content creator to just go out and do it. In 2019, there is no stopping the creation of content for people.

“If you want to create content, for God’s sake create content. Back when I was growing up, if I wanted to create content I had to buy a big movie camera, I had to get editing equipment and the only place to show it was on television. Now, you can film it on your phone, you can put it onto your computer and edit it with state-of-the-art editing stuff and even better, there’s a platform. You can put it on Vimeo, you can put it on YouTube, [and] you can put it on Instagram.”