Quibi, the short video streaming service launched with great fanfare in April, is shutting down just six months later, according to multiple reports.
Quibi founder and former Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told investors in a call on Wednesday that the entertainment startup that raised $1.75 billion in capital is shutting itself down, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In recent weeks, Quibi hired a restructuring firm to evaluate its options, and a report submitted to the board this week included shuttering, sources said.
The company, which had pitched a paid subscription service for short, 10 minute videos produced at a cost of $100,000 per minute, failed to gain traction despite a massive promotional push.
Among the shows created for the service were the ‘true-crime fashion series’ Last Looks, and 60 in 6, a six-minute version of the revered news-magazine show 60 Minutes.
Quibi founder and former Disney CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg (above) told investors in a call on Wednesday that the entertainment startup that raised $1.75 billion in capital is shutting down
A show called ‘Couples on Quibi’ saw celebrity couples open up about their relationships
Other series included Chrissy’s Court, in which Chrissy Tiegan presided as judge in real-life disputes, and Murder House Flip, in which a team renovates a house that a murder has occurred in and tries to sell it.
The name ‘Quibi’ was an abbreviation of ‘quick bites,’ highlighting its video content designed to be viewed on-the-go from a mobile device.
Targeted strongly at Millennials and Gen Z, Quibi hoped to position itself as a hip, mobile-first alternative to established streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+.
Instead, the troubled service has been plagued by worries, including anemic subscription numbers, disappointing viewership, and a patent infringement lawsuit financed by powerful hedge fund Elliot Management.
With a shutdown imminent, Quibi’s many financial backers now face a total loss of their investments.
Partial list of Quibi’s investors
- The Walt Disney Company
- 21st Century Fox
- Sony Pictures
- Time Warner
- Goldman Sachs
- JPMorgan Chase
- Alibaba Group
- BBC Studios
In a last ditch effort to save the business, Katzenberg had tried to sell its catalog of programming to several companies including to NBCUniversal and Facebook – both of which declined, according to The Information.
Katzenberg ‘has told people in the industry that he may have to shut down the company’ if a buyer could not be found quickly, the news site said, citing a person who spoke to him.
Quibi did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from DailyMail.com on Wednesday.
Quibi opened for business in the United States and Canada six months ago as the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic began to set in.
Its goal was to shake up the video content industry by providing 10-minute original Hollywood-quality programs delivered to smartphones and mobile devices.
Thanks to Kazenberg’s reputation and the billions of dollars promised, the project won over big-name movie and TV personalities to produce films and series, including the likes of Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon.
According to The Information, Katzenberg contacted Eddy Cue, an Apple vice president and WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, as well as Facebook and NBCUniversal. There was no interest, the site reported.
Quibi bet big, with 50 programs available from day one.
Quibi was paying $100,000 a minute for feature films — a rate comparable to big productions by Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max or Disney+, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman (above) has said
Jeffrey Katzenberg, chairman and founder of Quibi, stands in front of the photos of celebrities who were attached to the streaming service startup
The company was paying $100,000 a minute for feature films — a rate comparable to big productions by Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max or Disney+, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman has said.
Quibi also wanted to offer daily news reports, sports programs and entertainment shows, content difficult to produce while under pandemic lockdown.
Seeking to attract more customers, Quibi increased its trial offer from two weeks to 90 days, while the subscription price – $5 per month with advertising or $8 without — was comparable to the Disney+ service.
However, the strategy does not seem to have worked.
Quibi had reportedly been counting on several million subscribers by April 2021, but six months after its launch it has only a few hundred thousand, including those who have the service for free via their operator.
Developing story, more to follow.