Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Netflix didn’t kill Blockbuster, it was the media – ex-boss

If you read Blockbuster’s obituary, you might see the words “brutally slain by Netflix” but the former CEO of the one-time video rental empire is here to tell you otherwise.

In a new interview, ex-Blockbuster boss James Keyes reckons the company was well placed to withstand the Netflix juggernaut, but not a maelstrom of media coverage predicting a slip into bankruptcy.

“We were very well positioned to succeed over Netflix because we had arguably a superior offer,” Keyes told Management Today (via Fortune).

Pixel 7a with 100GB data just £14.99 a month

Pixel 7a with 100GB data just £14.99 a month

The Pixel 7a is a “mid-range triumph” in our book. You can get the phone for just £9 up front and then £14.99 a month with 100GB of data. A veritable steal!

  • Mobiles UK
  • 100GB data, £9 upfront
  • £14.99 a month
View Deal

What was that offer? Well the 2008 acquisition of the Movieline video streaming service that amounted to a pretty large movie library for the nascent online streaming market. Keyes also had reinstated late fees, which were bizarrely scrapped by his predecessor, and he apparently had an “exciting” deal with Google lined-up.

However, a New York Times report, which led with a “Blockbusted” headline, accompanied by a picture of Keyes looking like Pinocchio is what started the real downfalll, according to the ex-boss. Keyes had denied that Blockbuster was going bankrupt, but Moody’s had claimed the company mightn’t be able to refinance its billion dollar debt in 2009.

“The probability to fail just was a killer headline,” Keyes said. “All of a sudden, the press started saying Blockbuster was going to file for bankruptcy. We had no intention of doing so.”

Blockbuster eventually did file for bankruptcy in 2010.

Keyes said it still hurts that he’s the man associated with the downfall of one of the world’s most iconic companies. Especially the assertion that he couldn’t keep up with emerging technology.

“When I google my name today, I’m still plagued with being the guy that failed to keep up with technology,” he said. “That hurts given the fact that my great purpose of being there was to embrace technology and take it to the next level.”

“There’s some kid on the couch, eating popcorn, saying ‘This is the guy that screwed up Blockbuster’,” he added. “I just think you have no idea what it took at the time to be able to withstand that storm.”

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words