Quibi, shut down

Update: Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman have made it official; Quibi is done. The pair spoke with Deadline to discuss why they chose to shut down the service and what’s next. Despite the service winding down, Quibi does still have money in the bank that Katzenberg and Whitman plan on returning to investors. “I would say it’s just been a journey for Jeffrey and I as we’ve looked very clear-eyed at the data and said what’s the right thing to do,” said Whitman. “In order to get to scale we would have to raise more capital, a lot more capital and we would need to be raising it in the first part of next year. And we don’t think that we would have the data and the metrics to support another capital raise at that point. Ultimately probably a couple weeks ago we said you know, the right thing to do, the hard right but the right thing to do is to return cash to shareholders.” Katzenberg and Whitman are also sitting on a lot of content that hasn’t yet been released or is in development, and Katzenberg said that they’re still hoping to find a home for it.

Our guess is, is that if there is a home for the service they will want to continue on you know, with the development and with the content that’s in the pipeline here. There’s a very, very full pipeline of content that we think is going to be very valuable. Remember, we have 28 movies that are in the can here and that are I think really, really strong movies and titles with the biggest stars and incredible talent with them that are really great marquee shows. We have 28 movies available at a moment in time in which you know, there seem to be many platforms that are looking for content because of you know, the impact of COVID.

Although Quibi may be coming to an end, we likely haven’t seen the last of the hundreds of hours of content developed for the platform.

Here’s news that should surprise absolutely no one: it’s been reported that Quibi, the short-form streaming service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is about to close its doors. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, “Quibi Holdings LLC is shutting itself down, according to people familiar with the matter, a crash landing for a once-highflying entertainment startup that raised $1.75 billion in capital.”  The streaming service hasn’t exactly had an easy time of it since it launched back in April, with Katzenberg even searching for new buyers just last month, but WSJ reported that Katzenberg has called investors to tell them that he’s shutting the service down.

Quibi was geared towards offering ten-minute episodes called “quick bites” that could be enjoyed on your mobile devices and were tailor-made for our busy on-the-go lives, and while it was certainly an interesting concept, Quibi had the misfortune to launch in the midst of a global pandemic that has kept many people at home. Despite offering the service for free for the first 90 days, Quibi’s launch didn’t exactly make a splash and the service was soon bleeding subscribers left and right after those 90 days were up. A month after Quibi’s disastrous launch, Jeffrey Katzenberg placed the blame on COVID-19, saying, “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything. But we own it.” It certainly didn’t help that the service was initially only available on mobile devices, with the company finally launching apps for viewing on living-room TVs on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google TV/Android TV devices just days ago! Too little, too late.

Although the streaming-service spent billions on developing content, including Most Dangerous Game starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz, The Fugitive starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook, Survive starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins, The Stranger starring Maika Monroe and Dane DeHaan, Sam Raimi‘s horror anthology series 50 States of Fright, a revival of Reno 911!, and much more, it didn’t seem as though any of the movies/shows caught the attention of audiences. It’s not clear what will happen to all of the released and unreleased content, but Variety adds that Quibi doesn’t actually own many of the shows on its platform. “The company has seven-year licenses on its short-form series,” reads the Variety article. “After two years, content owners have the right to assemble the shows and distribute them elsewhere.” Farewell, Quibi. We hardly knew ye.

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