Numerous media outlets are posting reports Jeffrey Katzenberg’s streaming entertainment company has not found a buyer and will close its doors after just seven months of operation.
Numerous media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, are reporting that Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s streaming entertainment company, is shutting its doors just seven months after launch, a sad end to a high-profile venture that raised more than $1.75 billion on the bet that mobile audiences would flock to its unique, short-form content platform.
The WSJ report states that according to people familiar with the matter, today, Quibi founder Katzenberg called investors to tell them he is shutting down the service.
Led by CEO Meg Whitman, the former president and CEO of Hewlett Packard, the startup streaming platform had secured around $150 million in revenue prior to launch, from a number of top advertisers such as PepsiCo, Walmart and Anheuser Busch. However, as actual viewership and paying customer numbers failed to meet expectations, advertisers began deferring their payments.
Quibi was announced with great fanfare as a short-form mobile video platform when Katzenberg launched the company back in 2018. The company streamed short, 5-10 minute “chapters,” known as “quick bites,” formatted specifically to fit on a cellphone screen. The entire business was targeted towards consumers on the go, who only had small amounts of time to watch a show.
A number of animated series had already begun streaming, including Your Daily Horoscope; recent high-profile animated series greenlights included Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds’ Futha Mucka, Justin Roiland and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios’ Gloop World, and the stop-motion Micro Mayhem and Filthy Animals, also from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios.
While ultimately, the company appears to have been done in by the COVID-19 pandemic, which eliminated the lion’s share of personal travel counted on to fuel subscribers, they were never able to get much traction on the foundational aspect of people paying for mobile-only episodic content of the same high-quality, costly production value seen on traditional streaming TV platforms like Disney+ and Netflix. With people forced to stay home during the 2020 quarantines, they chose their TVs over their mobile devices. A lawsuit filed the tech company Eko over Quibi’s video platform technology, which is still ongoing, didn’t help the company’s fortunes either.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.