Quibi will close after six months – Here’s why


Quibi is no more. That’s the word that comes from insiders close to the events taking place at Quibi Holdings LLC’s Ground Zero, spreading across the internet like wildfire on Wednesday, October 21. Efforts to save Quibi have been made in recent weeks, with the co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg even hires a restructuring company to determine next steps after several failed attempts to find a buyer, by variety. The news comes just six and a half months after the mobile streaming service’s enthusiastic launch on April 6. Born from the creative partnership of Katzenberg and Meg WhitmanQuibi’s short mobile streaming platform was destined to be a disruptor of the streaming space, a revolutionary competitor that offered scripted TV and reality TV in small chunks of actors, writers, directors and producers.

Image via Quibi

Now here we are, watching the fledgling banner shut down after less than a year on the market (via The Wall Street Journal). Six months is barely enough time to make an impact. Yet in this specific case, there is just enough time for this endeavor to have a lasting impact that will be felt for years to come. It was daring (maybe a little also bold) to create a major streaming platform that boasted shows split into five to 10 minute chunks that you could only see on your phone as the future of streaming. Here again, when these emissions present or come from Christoph Waltz, Kevin Hart, Reine Latifah, Stephen Soderbergh, Sam Raimi, and Catherine Hardwicke, you are more likely to sit down and take note.

While it hurts to see Quibi shut down after less than a year, the red flags were there from the start. The shuttering seemed inevitable and not because Quibi opened at the start of a pandemic, as Katzenberg told the New York Times. When it launched, Quibi wowed subscribers with a three-month free deal before committing to one of its two subscriber tiers ($ 4.99 with ads, $ 7.99 to go ad-free ). That was too good an offer to be true considering that most services give you a free week before you have to make up your mind. Combined with other attractive aspects of Quibi’s setup, the offer undoubtedly helped attract around 910,000 subscribers in the early days of launch, according to a July report from The Verge. That number has dropped significantly, with The Verge sharing a third-party report that only 72,000 subscribers remained after the three-month trial. This conversion rate is different from the 5.6 million downloads of the Quibi app that the company claimed to have achieved since launch in April. This is a figure that flies in the face of reporting I did a month earlier to explore the revelation that Quibi was on the verge of missing its 1 year subscribers target and signing only 2. million subscribers instead of the expected 7 million. The exact number of followers at any one time was unclear, but from an outsider’s perspective, confidence in Quibi’s success had been sorely lacking for the past few months.


Image via Quibi

Even stranger than the number of subscribers was the implication that significant amounts of people were willing to download Quibi to their phones to watch these small shows. Quibi was only available through your phone at launch, with no ability to stream through various TV apps until earlier this week (via Variety), a time too late. It makes sense to bank on an idea that might easily appeal to users accustomed to scrolling through and watching 15-second to one-minute videos on TikTok, or on short TV via Snapchat, or even their friends’ Instagram stories for long periods of time. hours. But why would a person pay for shortened content when average people were creating an equally fun and engaging job on TikTok or Instagram? Even if a person would spend the same time mindlessly watching content on their via Quibi as they would, say, TikTok, the evidence that Quibi offered the kind of must-have content required for this type of time commitment isn’t coming. is never materialized.

While Quibi could have worked in theory, as Collider Dave Trumbore pointed out, there were too many obvious reasons for its inability to retain subscribers. Limited access to the Quibi platform, coupled with a user’s inability to capture and share content from Quibi (a move that could help shows develop a social following) and inability to get the type of positive name recognition you want for your start-up while chip away at Quibi over time. Add to that my personal sticking point: Dividing a show into seemingly arbitrary chunks doesn’t make good art. If I asked you to name a Quibi show, people were talking all the time at, say, Strange things or Big little lies or The wonderful Mrs. MaiselI’m pretty sure you’ll be stumped. Quibi had cut himself off from the standard paths to success necessary for a streaming platform to make a name for itself. Now all we know is Quibi barely managed to hang on to anything with around 100,000 paying subscribers. As always, however, the numbers are not clear.

In the end, it all seems like an expensive gimmick. Which brings me to my final note: this whole Quibi business started with $ 1.75 billion in pocket. This is the amount of money Katzenberg and Whitman have amassed to make Quibi a reality. $ 1.75 billion. Six months later, what’s left?

Allie Gemmill is the contributing editor of the weekend for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.


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