Quibi is coming to a quick end. The streaming service is shutting down after just seven months in operation. The announcement was made in a call to investors by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Meg Whitman, CEO of the company, also joined him for a written letter about the shutdown.
Per TV Line, Quibi is “winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets.” This shutdown will put 200 employees out of work, but it is not yet known what will become of the shows it aired. Quibi series were designed for on-the-go-viewing with episodes running less than 10 minutes.
Both Reno 911! and Most Dangerous Game were renewed for second seasons by Quibi. The future of The Fugitive or the service’s many unscripted series hadn’t been announced. It is possible that other streaming services could save them.
Quibi launched in April, offering a 90-day free trial. As time went on, fewer people watched and stayed subscribed. In the third quarter of 2020, Quibi reportedly reaches 710,000 subscriber households, down 300,000 from the second quarter. The company had projected that it would have 7.4 million subscribers in its first year.
This service seems to be another victim of the pandemic. The streaming service was made on the premise that people would watch quick TV episodes via mobile while out and about during their days. The pandemic forced many people to be stuck at home but Quibi, until this week, didn’t make it easy to watch its programming on big-screen TVs.
Here’s the open letter from Katzenberg and Whitman, regarding the Quibi shutdown.
An open letter to the employees, investors, and partners who believed in Quibi and made this business possible –
We started with the idea to create the next generation of storytelling and because of you, we were able to create and deliver the best version of what we imagined Quibi to be. So it is with an incredibly heavy heart that today we are announcing that we are winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets.
Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did. Our failure was not for lack of trying; we’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us.
While the result was not what any of us wanted, we did accomplish a number of things and we are very proud of what the talented Quibi team has built with the blood, sweat, and tears that they poured into this business over these past two years.
We opened the door to the most creative and imaginative minds in Hollywood to innovate from script to screen and the result was content that exceeded our expectations. We challenged engineers to build a mobile platform that enabled a new form of storytelling – and they delivered a groundbreaking and delightful service. And we were joined by ten of the most important advertisers in the world who enthusiastically embraced new ways for their brands to tell their stories.
With the dedication and commitment of our employees and the support we received from our investors and partners, we created a new form of mobile-first premium storytelling.
And yet, Quibi is not succeeding. 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.
Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two. The circumstances of launching during a pandemic is something we could have never imagined but other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it. We were not able to do so.
Which brings us to this moment. As entrepreneurs our instinct is to always pivot, to leave no stone unturned – especially when there is some cash runway left – but we feel that we’ve exhausted all our options. 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. We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight.
Our goal when we launched Quibi was to create a new category of short-form entertainment for mobile devices. Although the circumstances were not right for Quibi to succeed as a standalone company, our team achieved much of what we set out to accomplish, and we are tremendously proud of the award-winning and innovative work that we have produced, both in terms of original content and the underlying technology platform. Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential.
We want you to know that we got up every day and genuinely loved coming to work with the most remarkable and passionate team that we have ever assembled. We will be forever proud of the extraordinary partnership we were able to forge between the best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
All that is left now is to offer a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down. We cannot thank you enough for being there with us, and for us, every step of the way.
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman
What do you think? Did you subscribe to Quibi? Are you surprised the service is shutting down? Do you want the shows on the service to continue elsewhere?