RIP Quibi. As of Dec. 1, the short form streaming platform is officially shut down for good. The mobile-only streamer was the brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg and backed with more than $1 billion to launch. But ultimately, the world was not ready for a new niche market that Katzenberg and Meg Whitman were so desperately trying to create demand for.
Now less than six months after its launch, Quibi is being put out of its misery after a troubled existence. The app will remain on devices until users delete it, but just as an empty shell. Users won’t be able to access any Quibi content or even log in.
The streamer that was designed to give viewers ‘quick bites’ on the go in the spare minutes of busy schedules ended up launching during an unprecedented pandemic when people literally weren’t leaving their house. Being mobile-only was another hit against the platform. Since viewers were sitting at home with a big screen right in front of them all day every day, there was no need for streaming on a mobile device like there may have been in a ‘normal’ world.
Quibi also suffered amid a sea of new competitors entering the scene including HBO Max, Peacock, and the recently launched Disney+. These shiny new competitors were more traditional and also carried a backlog of legend content along with new originals. Despite investing in a slew of star power (like Chrissy Teigan, Liam Hemsworth, Kevin Hart, and many more), Quibi’s content wasn’t appealing enough to draw in or retain subscribers.
After a series of reinventing itself with screencasting, a smart TV app, allowing screenshots, lowering its price internationally, and a stint at drive-in movies (?), the streamer is being laid to rest.
Earlier this year, founders Katzenberg and Whitman shared an open letter to employees, investors, and partners of Quibi about the “winding down” of the business.
“Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did. Our failure was not for lack of trying; we’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us,” the letter says.
Katzenberg and Whitman noted that the idea behind Quibi may not have been enough to justify creating a standalone streaming service, and that the timing of the launch likely caused Quibi to not succeed.