Less than seven months after its launch, the nascent streaming service Quibi is shutting down, the company announced on Wednesday.
Multiple sources told the Wall Street Journal that Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg called investors on Wednesday to tell them he is shuttering the service. The decision comes after months of struggles for the platform, including download viewership numbers that were lower than expected. The service was also facing a lawsuit from media company Eko, which claimed Quibi was violating patents.
Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman posted an open letter confirming that “we are winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets” and explaining that the streamer ultimately failed either “because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”
Quibi — short for “quick bites” — debuted in April and offered original programming in the form of five-to-10-minute chapters. Free 90-day trials were offered for a limited time at launch, while monthly subscriptions cost $4.99 (with ads) and $7.99 (without ads).
One of Quibi’s immediate obstacles, though, was the coronavirus pandemic, which kept millions of viewers home from their daily commutes, thus reducing the amount of time spent watching TV on their mobile devices. Quibi eventually allowed users to watch content on their TVs via Chromecast and Apple TV.
There’s currently no word on what will become of Quibi’s original series. Several projects — including the Liam Hemsworth drama Most Dangerous Game and a revival of Reno 911! — already had been renewed, but it’s unclear if any projects will move to another platform, or perhaps get turned into full-length series at another streamer.
UPDATE: Quibi has targeted Dec. 1 as its official shutdown date, according to a message posted to the app’s FAQ section:
“Quibi has made the difficult decision to wind down,” the message reads. “We anticipate that the service will end streaming on or about December 1, 2020. We appreciate the support we have received from our customers and want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to entertain you. If you have any questions or need assistance in any way, please contact us at email@example.com. At this time we do not know if the Quibi content will be available anywhere after our last day of service. We recommend following #Quibi on Twitter for any news regarding content.”