Quibi is turning off their mobile video streaming platform and shutting down.
The brainchild of CEO Meg Whitman and Board Chairman Jeffrey Katzenburg launched in April of this year with the goal of revolutionizing handheld streaming. This closure makes it one of the shortest-lived streaming services to date.
“We feel that we’ve exhausted all our options,” Whitman and Katzenburg wrote in a post on Medium. “As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace.”
What Was Quibi?
Rather than existing movies and TV shows, Quibi — short for “quick bites” — launched with 50 original shows across a variety of genres. These weren’t traditional television shows. Instead, they consisted of 10-minute episodes, with the idea being that this format fit better into users’ hectic daily schedules.
The biggest difference, however, is how users would watch these shows. Quibi’s shows were designed to be viewed exclusively on phones. On top of that, users could watch shows in either portrait or landscape mode. According to TV Guide, users would be able to view different details and perspectives depending on how they watch.
“Watching on your phone has actually become a very personal, intimate, connective moment,” Katzenburg said, according to CNN. “You put your earbuds in and you have a connection with that content that is actually amazing.”
Multiple factors could (and probably did) lead to Quibi shutting down:
- A mobile-only streaming service when viewers want to watch content on multiple devices
- A global pandemic hits during launch, followed by social uprisings and protests, making publicity and promotion difficult
- No real breakout shows
- Lots of free short-form content existng on platforms like YouTube and TikTok
This last point is probably the most poignant. Quibi was a new subscription network during a time of massive unemployment, and coming into market loaded with other streaming services with known programming. If people are already paying for services they liked, why start something new and untested?
Acording to the Medium article, company leaders are saying “the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”
Quibi’s Original Offerings
Quibi’s original offerings were split up into three categories: “movies in chapters,” “unscripted and docs,” and “daily essentials.” “Movies in chapters” were long-form stories told in daily 10-minute episodes. These stories covered a number of different genres: for example, fans of thrillers could check out the platform’s update of the classic TV show The Fugitive, starring Liam Hemsworth and Kiefer Sutherland.
For more of a suspenseful mystery, there was When the Streetlights Go On, starring Queen Latifah in a tale of small-town crime. Quibi had comedy covered as well, with the wacky home-renovation farce Flipped, starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson.
“Unscripted and docs” consisted of reality-style programming for all members of the family. From resurrected reality favorites like Punk’d – this time hosted by Chance the Rapper – to new originals like Chrissy’s Court, where Chrissy Teigen presided over small claims disputes, Judge Judy-style, Quibi arrived with a host of non-fiction entertainment options.
Finally, their “daily essentials” provided daily news and entertainment updates from sources like Entertainment Weekly, Mission Control Media, ESPN, and many more.
It’s currently up in the air as to what will happen to the existing content, and if it will be sold or licensed to other streaming services.
Quibi will be notifying current subscribers about the final date for accessing content on the platform.