After six months of struggling to amass strong subscription numbers since its launch and failing to find a buyer to keep them afloat, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming platform Quibi is reportedly shutting down, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to the report, Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman called an investor on Wednesday to confirm that, after further review and advice from an outside restructuring firm, the service will be shutting down as the board of directors seek to cut their losses. Word broke last month that Katzenberg was bringing the company to other brands in a pitch effort to sell the service, composed of 500,000 subscribers, to everyone including Apple, WarnerMedia and Facebook, but after this failed attempted to sell the programming rights to studios such as NBCUniversal, though they were reportedly “put off by the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows it puts on its platform.“
Unlike most streaming platforms or networks, Quibi owns none of its big-budget content, spending a minimum of $100,000 per minute, while also only holding seven-year licenses on its short-form series with the stipulation that content owners can assemble their shows and distribute them to other platforms after two years.
The streaming platform launched just as people found themselves confined to their homes in the midst of the pandemic, but rather than take advantage of this and establish apps for content viewing on TVs, Katzenberg insisted on maintaining its mobile-only plan, with the company only having just released TV apps this week.
At its April launch, Quibi had roughly 50 original titles including various reality series starring Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen and Chance the Rapper, as well as a number of major scripted programs including Sam Raimi’s 50 States of Fright, the Liam Hemsworth-starring Most Dangerous Game, Anna Kendrick-led Dummy, Kevin Hart-starring Die Hart and the revival of Comedy Central’s Reno! 911.