Oh, Quibi. We'd describe Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's ill-fated streaming video app's arc as a "fall from grace," but that would imply the media venture that somehow raised nearly $2 billion in funding was ever a good idea in the first place (spoiler: it wasn't). After months of floundering, and as pretty much anyone at least half-informed about modern entertainment continued to predict its failure, the "quick bites" service will be exiting the world of streaming video.
Quibi's days are numbered— As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Quibi Holdings LLC will undergo a complete shutdown of the company imminently. The decision follows the suggestion of a restructuring firm hired by Quibi execs, who came up short after courting media giants like NBCUniversal, Apple, HBO, and Facebook.
The company reportedly also failed to get anyone interested in buying its catalog of spliced up shows rather than the entire business, and Katzenberg himself recently admitted he might need to close the company, so when news of a conference call to investors scheduled for today broke, it didn't bode well. Now the writing's gone from being on the wall, to on the page, and splashed across news websites like this one.
Quibi has managed one thing, though. It's unseated the likes of WeWork and Theranos as new pack-leader of the how-to-squander-investor-money-like-a-pro crowd.
Doomed from the start— After a dismal launch back in April, any lingering hope for the streaming service's success was essentially dashed by COVID-19's onset. Billed explicitly as a service offering original shows structured around 5-10 minute "chapters" that could only be viewed on smartphones, Quibi simply wasn't attractive to a potential audience stuck in their homes with access to, you know, every other digital distraction already available.
Couple that with the fact that its actual programs were just not very good, and you have yourself a recipe for one of the saddest Subreddits in existence. Soon the cracks started to show, and the company began making plans to bring its content to larger screens via Chromecast and Apple TV, before abandoning its form factor completely with a drive-in screening of an entire series in one go, you know, like a feature-length film.
Don't cry for Quibi— And yet, it's difficult to feel bad for any of Quibi's top brass, what with leaking users' emails to ad firms and exploiting workers. Oh, and then there's that whole thing about potentially stealing propriety software that's landed the app's developers in court.
Thanks to legal challenges, despite Quibi's plans to shut down, its financial situation could still worsen, which is impressive. In fact, that might be just about the only impressive thing about the sad, strange story that was Quibi. We say we'll miss her, but frankly, we hardly knew her.