Short-form video startup Quibi is now a short-lived platform.
Hollywood bigwig Jeffrey Katzenberg and managing director Meg Whitman’s streaming video app is pulling the plug on the well-funded service that reportedly has not found a stop after disappointing months.
Katzenberg, a staple in the entertainment industry, called investors today to tell them the service would be suspended, the Wall Street Journal first reported, and the company will be on a call with investors later that evening to inform them about the status of the To inform the company.
A Quibi spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It’s a dramatic and breathtaking end to a service that debuted on April 6th with an ambitious promise to revive the entertainment industry – and marks the first high-profile causality of the so-called “streaming wars”. The premise: short-form programming that, as executives liked to say in interviews, was designed in such a way that it can be displayed in “in-between moments”, for example when users waited in line for coffee while commuting or when time was killing.
The name of the app itself is a portmanteau from “Quick Bites,” a reference to the type of snack-sized content Quibi wanted to be known for.
However, the timing of the app’s debut was no accident. The worsening Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns and orders to stay at home made the planned first-class viewing options for Quibi all but irrelevant. Whitman told Adweek ahead of Quibi’s debut that she believed people would see the app programmed in between home moments, like “between Zoom calls or between kids’ home schooling”. That obviously didn’t happen.
Quibi also failed to land with its 10 launch partners, which included 22 brands that collectively purchased Quibi’s $ 150 million advertising inventory in the first year. These advertisers had “significant underdeliveries,” a media buyer who previously worked with the platform told Adweek.
“A big part of their promise was to have a lot of people on their platform and this made it possible to deliver unique impressions,” the buyer said at the time. “You can make a $ 100,000 purchase, but if you have 10 people there, you’ve just overwhelmed them from a frequency standpoint. Unique impressions are our goal and you still have a long way to go to close these deals. “
That ran counter to promotional calls in the second year, which should begin in the fall. The overwhelming performance of the advertisers almost certainly had an impact on the type of advertising commitments the company could rely on in its second year.
While Katzenberg blamed Covid-19 for the company’s problems, there were other problems. The company rushed to make a networked TV casting option available after users found they couldn’t watch Quibi shows on their TVs at home, and the app also had to move to take screenshots and screenshots in the Enable app after viewers determined it wasn’t. You have no option to share the programs on social media. Quibi has also made some sample episodes available on YouTube to help attract more paying customers to the service.
The company had previously forecast that by year-end it would have 7.5 million paid subscribers who would pay either $ 4.99 per month for an ad-supported tier or $ 7.99 per month for an ad-free tier. While Quibi hasn’t released any numbers in the past few months, data and analytics platform Sensor Tower today estimated the app was downloaded approximately 9.6 million times from the App Store and Google Play, and an estimated $ 7.7 million for subscriptions generated.