Streaming Service Quibi To Close After Less Than 7 Months…
I think you can call this a really expensive error in judgement… Quibi, the streaming service set up by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is to shut down after two billion dollars of investment and less than 7 months “on-air”.
For those of you that haven’t even heard of Quibi, the unique selling point of the service was that is was designed for “quick bites” of stories, meaning each episode of a show was around 10 mins long. The theory was people could watch it on their phone when they have a bit of downtime waiting for a bus, or on their lunch break.
The process to shut down the service is not going to be immediate, and will likely take a few months. In the meantime, the bosses at Quibi will look into the possibility of selling the service on to someone else, or selling off the content. Whilst I think the likelihood of someone stepping up to buy the entire thing is slim, it is possible some of the shows may find other homes.
I suspect this massive failure will be something the industry will comb through in detail over the next few months. However, Quibi certainly was not lacking in high-quality content, picking up 10 Emmy nominations in the short-form category this year. It also won praise for shows such as ‘Most Dangerous Game’ starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz, ‘Survive’ starring Sophie Turner & Corey Hawkins, a new version of ‘The Fugitive’ starring Boyd Holbrook & Kiefer Sutherland, and ‘#FreeRayshawn’ starring Laurence Fishburne which took home 2 Emmys.
There were a number of factors working against Quibi when it launch, some of its own making, some not. Firstly, the pandemic. Quibi was designed as something you could watch when you were out and about and had a spare few moments… Unfortunately, they decided to launch in April 2020… in the middle of a global pandemic when the entire world was locked away at home.
Secondly, when they launched, you could only run the service from your phone, and there was no option to stream it to a tv. Meaning all those people stuck at home were forced to watch it on their phone and not the 50-inch tv which is sat in their living room. They did eventually fix this, but it was too little too late.
Thirdly, the price. In the UK, it cost £7.99… You can get Netflix for £5.99, Amazon Prime for £7.99, or NOW TV for £9.99, all of which have many, many more hours of content. In the US, you could get it for $4.99, but with ads (or $7.99 without), which still is not a great deal…
As to what happens next, we’ll have to wait and see. It could be someone acquires all the content, and it ends up on another platform. It could be the shows get split up across various services. Or it could all vanish into the ether. We’ll let you know if we hear of any movement, but for now, I salute the attempt at trying something different… Even if it failed.
Dave has over 20 years experience in the digital industry, and is founder and editor of Geektown. Obviously a huge geek himself, he can often be found in front of the latest tv show or movie, on various video games, or with his head in a comic book.