In April of this year, former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard Enterprises CEO Meg Whitman launched Quibi, a brand new streaming platform which was designed to appeal to mobile phone users. Short for “Quick Bites,” the streaming service exclusively offered film and television content in 5- to 10-minute episodes. Katzenberg’s idea when founding the company was to produce content which viewers could consume during breaks, commutes, or other short periods of free time during the day.
However, Quibi quickly ran into a number of roadblocks, as it found itself forced to compete with providers of free short videos such as YouTube. It also received complaints from subscribers who wanted to watch Quibi videos via big screen TVs, and were frustrated with the app’s limited mobile device-only availability. The service failed to gain many subscribers, with the number steadily declining throughout the summer and early autumn.
In their official statement, Katzenberg and Whitman blamed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for Quibi’s failure. They referenced the difficulty of starting a business during a pandemic, and acknowledged that Quibi was unable to adapt to the changing, uncertain landscape of 2020.
The company’s remaining money will be returned to investors, with subscribers being notified individually of when access to the service will end. It is currently unknown what will happen to shows hosted on Quibi, as attempts to sell Quibi’s assets to Apple, Facebook, and Warner Media were reportedly entirely unsuccessful. Quibi currently hosts a number of projects in a variety of genres, ranging from short form news to documentaries and game shows to drama and comedy series. One drama series, #FreeRayshawn, won two Emmy Awards for actors Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas-Jones. The series had been renewed for a second season prior to Quibi’s shutdown.
Which Quibi projects would you like to see find a new home following the company’s shutdown? Let us know!