Quibi isn’t dead, but it is one the streamer equivalent of life support. When it launched on April 6 — a mere few weeks into the nationwide quarantine — the short-bite service bowed well below forecasts, and has continued to sink; at its current trajectory it’s set to garner less than 2 million paid subscribers, less than 30% of its initial goal. But there’s one person who won’t give in to pessimism: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi’s powerful founder.
As per Variety, the former Disney chairman-turned-Dreamworks co-founder was upbeat when speaking at the virtual edition of the TV festival SeriesFest. “I’m still quite optimistic this is gonna work,” Katzenberg told the crowd. Why would he think that? Partly because he’s hoping patrons will soon be out and about again, waiting on lines, needing time to kill by staring at their phone for 10-minute-a-pop content.
“[W]hen the country opens up… we are all going to be back on the go again,” Katzenberg said. “The difference is, is that we are going to waiting on line for more things than every before… We are going to be waiting like crazy, and I hope Quibi is there to keep you entertained.”
Indeed, he once again blamed the timing. “At the very moment the world stopped being on the go was the moment we launched,” he added. “It was a cement wall we ran into.” He also maintains Quibi isn’t competing with the other big streamers, which you can watch at home. Their territory is different. “They’re all battling for the same thing. We’re in a white space. We want you from 7 in the morning to 7 at night.”
Looks like we’ll see. Maybe if reopening doesn’t go as terribly as it’s gone in certain pockets of the country, there will be tons of people spending gobs of time standing in endless, social distancing lines, ready to fire up some new Reno 911. And there are elections coming up…