Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s $1.75bn shortform content network Quibi is shutting down.
The mobile platform, which offered quick bites, known as “Quibis”, of films and shows lasting less than 10 minutes, launched in April with almost $2bn in investment, yet failed to meet its subscriber targets, amassing a string of negative reviews along the way despite big star names such as Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, LeBron James and Steven Spielberg getting involved.
“The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable,” Katzenberg said. “I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices.”
The media mogul and Whitman had worked with a restructuring firm to find a buyer, yet were unable to attract one. The app currently has just 500,000 paying customers after initially attracting more than 7 million. Investors were called today with the news, while its 200 employees were told during a town hall.
“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Katzenberg said to the New York Times in a May video interview. “Everything. But we own it.”
They will identify “a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets,” in the coming months. The company does not own any of its many shows and films but has the rights to them for seven years, after which point the creators will then have the right to assemble and distribute them.
Quibi’s library includes an updated version of MTV’s Punk’d hosted by Chance the Rapper, a comedy about a sex doll called Dummy starring Anna Kendrick, a remake of The Fugitive with Kiefer Sutherland, and Chrissy’s Court, which sees Chrissy Teigen act as the judge for various small case claims.
“We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content,” Whitman said today.