In a weird, but not unexpected turn of events, the mobile-first streaming service Quibi has come to an end. According to the Wall Street Journal, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg called investors on Wednesday to let them know that the service is shutting down. For its part, Quibi hasn’t officially commented on an impending shutdown.
Updated, 10/21/2020: In an open letter signed by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, Quibi confirmed that the streaming service is being shut down due to the company’s lack of success. As written in the message to employees, investors, and partners, the downfall of Quibi is “[likely] for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”
The company has not announced when the service will be shut off, but “Quibi subscribers will receive separate notifications regarding the final date of access to the platform.” The letter does write that the company will close its doors “over the coming months.”
The news came after the company launched its Android TV app, the company’s first attempt at bringing its service to a screen bigger than your smartphone. Unfortunately, it looks like those efforts have been mostly wasted.
In case you weren’t in the loop, Quibi (short for “Quick Bites”) was a streaming service focused heavily on viewing the content on mobile, by optimizing their original shows to be viewed in both portrait and landscape orientations. The service launched back in April with a decent level of success with episodes of shows ranging from five to ten minutes in length.
The service launched at a price of $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 to go ad-free. The company poured more than $1 billion into its original content efforts. The service was believed to have somewhere in the ballpark of 400,000 to 5000,000 subscribers after being available for just over six months.
It’s unclear what will happen with Quibi’s current lineup of shows, whether they’ll be sold off to other companies or if the shows will be gone for good. At one point in time, Katzenberg was reaching out to several tech executives in an attempt to see if he could sell off Quibi. Unfortunately, nobody was really interested, which likely lead to the demise of the streaming service.
It’ll be interesting to see how T-Mobile reacts to the news, as the company began offering one free year of Quibi earlier this year with their post-paid service. At least you still get Netflix. In any case, while Quibi may be out, there’s no shortage of other streaming services wanting your Quibi dollars.