Quibi hits the off switch - Mobile World Live

Quibi hits the off switch

22 OCT 2020

Bosses at Quibi threw in the towel six months after a much-vaunted launch of the mobile-first short-form video streaming service, blaming challenges stemming from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic among other factors.

In an open letter to employees, investors and partners, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman said they plan to sell the service’s content and technology assets, and return this cash to shareholders.

“We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight”, they stated, adding the team “exhausted every option available” before deciding on closure.

The pair pointed to a combination of launching at the height of the pandemic and a lack of a “strong enough” reason “to justify a standalone streaming service” as factors in the shutdown.

In a frank admission, they stated they were “not able” to navigate the “unprecedented” Covid-19 challenges as successfully as other companies.

However, they noted highlights including “award-winning and innovative work that we have produced” and partnerships between “the best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley”.

Quibi launched in North America on 6 April, providing videos of up to ten minutes, priced at $5 per month for a version with advertisements and $8 ad-free.

After hailing a better-than-expected start, the company later slated estimates pointing to sluggish uptake by users.

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Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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