Short-video app Quibi meets demise amid streaming wars
This story includes analysis by Brian Lowry, CNN Business. Scroll down for comments on Twitter about Quibi’s demise.
Short-video app Quibi said it is shutting down just six months after its early April launch, having struggled to find customers.
The company said Wednesday that it would wind down its operations and plans to sell its assets. “Quibi is not succeeding,” its top executives bluntly declared in a letter posted online.
The video platform, designed for people who were out and about to watch on their phones, was one of a slew of new streaming services started to challenge Netflix over the past few years, most of which were part of much bigger tech and entertainment companies, like Apple and Disney.
Quibi, short for “quick bites,” raised $1.75 billion from investors including Hollywood players Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom, and its leadership included big names: entertainment industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman. But the service struggled to reach viewers, despite a 90-day free trial.
Quibi won’t be the last casualty of the streaming wars as studios and other new players vie for consumers’ time. But its demise will likely be recorded as one of the most predictable, reflecting a business plan founded on questionable demand that also came at the worst possible time.
Quibi billed itself as filling two distinct needs: An appetite for slickly produced content during the down time that people have while out and about, and the tendency to occupy those gaps by perusing phones.
Hence, its much-lampooned “quick bites” formula, providing TV shows and documentaries sliced into 7-9-minute episodes, generated by marquee talent both in front of and behind the camera.
As always with such ventures, Hollywood’s agents and content makers were happy to take money from a new buyer. But a pandemic that undermined the whole “on the go” notion intervened, even before the unproven strategy could be legitimately tested.
Here’s reaction on Twitter to Quibi’s demise:
Here are some of Quibi’s offerings from its launch in April: