The shortform streaming service that raised $1.75 million in capital is shutting down less than seven months after its April 6 launch, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing founder Jeffrey Katzenberg's calls to investors. The news comes ahead of an all-staff meeting later today where the news is expected to be made official. "The streaming service has been plagued with problems since it launched in April, facing lower-than-expected viewership, disappointing download numbers and a lawsuit from a well-capitalized foe," reports The Journal, which adds: "Quibi’s shutdown marks a disappointing turn of events for Mr. Katzenberg, who pitched the streaming service as a revolutionary new entrant to the video-streaming wars." The Journal reports that Katzenberg was unable to sell the company. Quibi recently hired a reorganization firm, which recommended a number of options, including shutting down the streaming service. "The decision to hire the reorganization firm came after starting a process to sell the company," The Journal reports. "Quibi pitched suitors including Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal on a sale, according to people familiar with the matter, but would-be buyers were put off by the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows it puts on its platform."
Quibi confirms shutdown, saying "the world has changed dramatically": “Quibi was founded to create the next generation of storytelling,” founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a prepared statement. “We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices.”
Quibi's demise cause will complications for a wide range of its TV partners: For instance, CBS News will have to figure out what to do with 60 Minutes spinoff 60 in 6, which featured new correspondents focusing on subjects such as QAnon and race relations. "The demise of Quibi, the short-form video service led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, will cause complications for a wide range of TV partners who supplied new and often innovative programming to the streaming upstart, which promised to deliver top-quality entertainment in episodes that would last ten minutes or less," says Variety's Brian Steinberg and Will Thorne. "NBC News, the BBC, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Kevin Hart, Queen Latifah and Chrissy Teigen were among the popular actors and media entities that latched on to the venture." Variety reports that some media companies learned of Quibi's demise from the headlines.
Nearly $2 billion in major Hollywood investments is now lost: "Disney, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Sony Pictures Entertainment, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV, Entertainment One — the list of Hollywood heavy hitters that poured money into Quibi is a veritable who’s who of entertainment industry giants," says Variety's Elaine Low. "Now, with the reported closure of the mobile streaming startup led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, just six months after launching, so goes nearly $2 billion in investment dollars."