After launching just a little over six months ago, Quibi is shutting down after failing to find a buyer for the struggling startup. The app often made headlines for reeling in top stars for its “bite-size content” offerings, but even with a pandemic ramping up consumers’ demand for more streaming entertainment, Quibi notably failed to connect with audiences. As for the subscribers that it did manage to attract, 90% of them left once their free trial was up. The situation grew more dire as talks of a “strategic sale” emerged, and now, the fledgling streaming service is looking at having its own cord cut.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Quibi hired a restructuring firm to navigate its financial troubles, and one of the options presented was to cut its losses and power down the app, which appears to be the only option left. The proposal arrived after founder Jeffrey Katzenberg was unable to secure a buyer for Quibi, and not without a lack of trying. Katzenberg reportedly shopped the app to Apple, WarnerMedia, Facebook, and NBCUniversal who all passed on the offer and were “put off by the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows it puts on its platform.”
The shutdown news arrives after Quibi landed a surprising amount of Emmy nominations that seemed to boost the platform’s prospects for the future, if only for the moment. Despite the Emmy recognition, the platform continued to face scrutiny for handing out large paydays to celebrities for literally minutes of work while continuing to layoff employees. It was not a good look on top of Quibi’s documented struggle to entice and retain a scalable user base.