21 October 2020
UPDATE (October 23rd, 2020):
Quibi has sent emails to users alerting that the service will shut down on or around December 1st. The team is further uncertain about what would happen to all the original content Quibi has.
The official message reads,
“At this time we do not know if the Quibi content will be available anywhere after our last day of service. We recommend following #Quibi on Twitter for any news regarding content.”
Original (October 22nd, 2020)
Quibi, a shot-video and mobile-first streaming service, is officially shutting down just six months after the launch. The decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) but was later confirmed by co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman via an open letter shared on the official Medium blog.
The letter mentions that Quibi is not getting shut down because of the lack of trying but because they have exhausted all available options. They are unable to come up with a way to attract more uses without investing heavily. The startup raised over $1 billion in funding and is now left with about $350 million. It is said that the team does not burn through any more cash and wants to return as much part of the investment it can.
The streaming service was announced in April 2020 for subscription plans starting at $4.99 per month. It offered a 90-days free trial to new users that helped it cross the 300,000 downloads mark within a day. The app features well-produced content and originals starring some of the well-known Hollywood celebrities like Sophie Turner, Liam Hemsworth, and Chrissy Teigen. It used to release new episodes on daily basis with each episode up to 10 minutes long.
The idea behind the app was to give users a platform to watch short yet high-quality content when on the go like while commuting on a train. But just when the app launched, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and forced people to change their lifestyle and stay at home as much as possible. This is expected to be one of the reasons behind the failure of the app.
The official blog post says,
"Quibi is not succeeding. Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing. Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two."
Another thing to keep in mind is that Quibi already had strong competition from the likes of YouTube and TikTok when it comes to watching short/quick content while on the go. Interestingly, the app even expanded support to televisions just yesterday. Nevertheless, Quibi will soon become a part of history as all current subscribers will receive an alert about the decision. The team now wants to sell its library of content and technologies and is actively looking for potential buyers.