In what can only be described as an inevitability that I can’t believe they didn’t see coming, Quibi founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman have thrown in the towel on the ill-fated app.
After receiving a fair amount of investment interest for their mobile streaming service idea that was supposed to “fit perfectly into any moment of your day,” the company had high hopes of appealing to an audience who’d want to 5-10 minute episodes of streaming content on their phones. The biggest problem with this idea? The few people who consume content that way do so on YouTube. For free.
Even though COVID-19 will be blamed for Quibi’s demise, the truth is this was an experiment that was always doomed to fail. Charging a subscription fee of $4.99 a month with ads (or $7.99 without ads) for content that didn’t rival what other streaming services were offering, was always going to be a bad idea.
Quibi had initially set itself a target of 7.4 million subscribers in its first 6 months of operations, but reportedly only managed to grab 1.6 million gullible souls within that time-frame. There was simply no way the company could continue to run when it was clear it was never going to make its money back and it began looking at other options to possibly sell off the product or merge with another service, but couldn’t find anyone interested and so decided to cut their losses.
Katzenberg revealed an official statement (via The Wrap) on the closure, where he thanked those who helped make this dream happen, even if it turned into a bit of a nightmare in the end:
Quibi was founded to create the next generation of storytelling. We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fuelled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices.
While it was never released here, the service did apparently have some decent content and featured a range of top Hollywood talent.
The streaming game is a competitive one at the moment and perhaps even more so when you are trying to capture a target market that is unbelievably niche. Hopefully, those content creators affected by this can move on to bigger and better things while the rest of us can laugh off and bask in how we foresaw all of this happening. Though, even I’m amazed it folded as fast as it did, as I predicted that it last at least a year before closing down.
Last Updated: October 22, 2020