Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an interview with The New Yorker that he tried to sell the company to Blockbuster in 2000. Around that time, Netflix flew to Dallas that spring to talk to Blockbuster executives. Blockbuster had around 7,700 stores open at the time while Netflix was losing money and had only 300,000 subscribers. Netflix was also heavily reliant on the United States Postal Service.
Reed Hastings was interested in forming a partnership with Blockbuster as well where they could serve as Blockbuster’s streaming service. Hastings wanted to sell a 49% stake in the company and take the Blockbuster name. Blockbuster decided against it.
Blockbuster was skeptical because of the tech bubble. Around 4 years later, Blockbuster tried to launch their own subscription service, but lost the battle. Netflix had 4.2 million subscribers by 2005.