Quibi Streaming Service Shutting Down Just Months After Launch

Ruben Fields
October 23, 2020

The mobile-focused streaming service Quibi has announced it will close just six months after its launch, after failing to attract enough subscribers.

Katzenberg, a former Disney executive who co-founded the studio DreamWorks SKG, made headlines while developing Quibi, reportedly raising nearly $2 billion with former HP CEO Meg Whitman onboard at Quibi as its CEO.

The Trolls song recommended by Katzenberg includes inspiring lyrics like "if something goes a little wrong, well you can go ahead and bring it on" - although with Quibi's disastrous year, "a little wrong" may be a bit of an understatement.

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Not that Quibi's content will be locked away forever.

Unlike most streaming platforms or networks, Quibi owns none of its big-budget content, spending a minimum of $100,000 per minute, while also only holding seven-year licenses on its short-form series with the stipulation that content owners can assemble their shows and distribute them to other platforms after two years.

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"Quibi was founded to create the next generation of storytelling", founder and board Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg said in the statement.

Quibi, a shortened form of "Quick Bites", landed 1.7 million app downloads in its first week, Whitman told CNBC in April.

Recently, Katzenberg sought to sell Quibi to other industry giants including NBCUniversal, and the company Quibi hired a restructuring firm to evaluate the service's options, the Journal reported.

And of course installations don't equal paying users, so when you consider Disney+ reached more than 60 million subscribers since launching in November 2019, Quibi didn't get big numbers. As the coronavirus pandemic struck, most people were no longer commuting to work and therefore might have not been that interested in a mobile-only streaming service.

This composite released by Quibi shows a selection of images from programs offered on the new Quibi service, from left, Anna Kendrick from "Dummy", Sophie Turner, who stars in "Survive", Liam Hemsworth, who stars in "Most Dangerous Game", Chrissy Teigen in "Chrissy's Court" and Chance the Rapper in "Punk'd.".

Quibi also had to compete for younger viewers' time with millions of free - often user-generated - videos hosted by YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

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