Well, that was fast! Quibi, the mobile streaming service launched amid great fanfare and nearly $2 billion in start-up capital by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is officially shutting down. I have to say I wasn’t a fan of Quibi as a whole (really wasn’t into viewing series, no matter how short, on my phone) but the series’ did show promise & I hope they can maybe be developed further on other platforms.
According to “Deadline”, Katzenberg and CEO Whitman were on the verge of a call with investors yesterday to explain their decision to wind down the short-form video service after little more than six months. They are exploring options including selling content or the entire service in the hopes that a buyer emerges. Apparently, the process of bringing Quibi to a close is expected to take several months with subscribers receiving notifications in the near future.
Quibi really is one pricey misfire & its failure is being looked at closely by its streaming competition. The sad thing is that its demise will put about 200 employees out of work & then there is a question about its content. There are a lot of A-list people behind some of the series on Quibi & investors got involved due to that talent. Questions will swirl about what will be lost & what happens next.
Quibi’s launch was complicated by the coronavirus but it was made more problematic by arriving at a hectic moment for the overall streaming marketplace. Four other billion-dollar subscription services from Apple, Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal have hit the market since last November, & they all were competing with the already existing Netflix, Hulu & Amazon. Quibi also spent a lot on promotion with multiple TV spots during the Oscars & Super Bowl but the return on investment wasn’t there. In its first 90 days, during a free trial period, the streaming app was downloaded 5.6 million times, the company said last month. Only a small percentage of those downloads converted to subscribers paying $5 a month or $8 for an ad-free version.