Six months after the launch, it is already over and out for streaming service Quibi. Initiators Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman announced on Wednesday that they would pull the plug from the platform.
Quibi was to become the streamer for mobile use. The programs were made to be played on phones, and episodes lasted between five and ten minutes. The US service took off in early April, just as commuter traffic was cut off for many people due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Katzenberg, former Disney boss and co-founder of Dreamworks, together with his business partner Whitman, secured $ 1.8 billion in investment for the platform. The company hired Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James, Idris Elba and Chrissy Teigen, among others for its programming.
Katzenberg knows this spring the disappointing results of Quibi, which then had 1.3 million users, entirely from the corona crisis. “Is that the deluge of people we were hoping for before the launch? The answer is no,” Katzenberg told The New York Times at the time.
“This is not what we wanted. It doesn’t come close to what we wanted.” The figures were also biased at that time: the streaming service was free for the first 90 days.
The initiators announced on Wednesday that they would return money to their shareholders, but that they had to fire employees. The two are looking for buyers for the more than a hundred shows that Quibi has commissioned.