Quibi Shutting Down After Less Than a Year of Streaming
It was ambitious plan: A new streaming service, built from the ground up, designed expressly for viewers on the go, with content intended to be watched in short, ten-minute chunks. It was Quibi, short for “quick bites,” and it began streaming back in April.
In the end, Quibi lasted about a Quibi.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg “called investors to tell them he is shutting the service down” today, a little over six months after it launched. The news comes after increasingly dire reports about the company’s financial status, and rumors that Katzenberg was exploring the possibility of selling Quibi to another corporation:
In recent weeks, Quibi hired a restructuring firm to evaluate its options, the people said. The firm recommended the options to the board of directors this week, a list that included shutting the company down ... Quibi pitched suitors including Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal on a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, but would-be buyers were put off by the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows it puts on its platform.
To be fair, few companies have ever been victims of worse timing than Quibi. The company’s whole raison d'etre was stuff you could watch on your phone while you commute or wait for a doctor’s appointment or something — and a couple weeks before its big launch the entire globe was struck by a once-in-a-century pandemic, forcing worldwide lockdowns. Suddenly no one wanted quick bites, they wanted long, endless binges, something Quibi was uniquely ill-equipped to provide. (Its apps weren’t even available for on televisions in the beginning.)
Quibi had a ton of original shows, including revivals of The Fugitive, Punk’d, and Reno 911! It’s not clear yet what will happen to these series, or the additional content they have ordered. Quibi’s life was so short we didn’t even get to see some of its most anticipated series, including a horror show from Steven Spielberg. RIP Quibi (2020-2020).
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