Quibi isn’t dead. It simply took a nice nap and needed a new streaming media deal to bring it to the masses. At least, this involves the content on Quibi that was trapped there when the streaming company with more than $1.5 billion in seed money failed amid a pandemic year and a less-than-stellar adoption rate in 2020.
Variety reported a deal between Roku and what’s left of the Icarus’d streaming company that both debuted and died last year. The pact will reportedly bring Quibi’s content to Roku via a free streaming channel that will give a much larger audience access to the quick bites Quibi spent so much money creating.
The problems that sunk Quibi are many, but now those who missed out on giving the platform and its shows a chance will get the opportunity if they own the right streaming device. The deal will put all 75 Quibi shows on the Roku Channel, an ad-supported channel available to millions of users who have smart TVs and other Roku streaming devices:
Financial terms of the pact were not disclosed. A source familiar with the agreement said Roku is paying “significantly” less than $100 million for the Quibi library, confirming an earlier Wall Street Journal report. Rob Holmes, Roku’s VP of programming, said in an interview, “We do think this deal represents a great value.”
“Fundamentally, we think that Quibi has created great, high-quality content,” Holmes told Variety. “It’s a great value proposition for our users… We’re pivoting from Quibi’s SVOD model to an ad-supported model, and this type of new, original content is not usually available for free.”
It’s hard to overstate just how many more people this lets view Quibi content, as the platform never truly took off. Consider, for example, how Warner Bros. got HBO Max into the Roku ecosystem as movies were scheduled to land there there in 2021. It’s estimated Roku now has more than 50 million users, a huge amount of eyeballs that Quibi simply never saw even on a free trial.
There are some perks to the deal. Interestingly, Quibi shut down before it had actually debuted all of that original content, including a Stephen Spielberg horror series that will now debut on Roku Channel:
More than a dozen Quibi shows will debut on the Roku Channel for first time. Those include “The Now,” a suicide-themed comedy from Peter Farrelly, and “Slugfest,” a docuseries based on the story of Marvel vs DC comics from the Russo brothers. Another evidently will be “Spielberg’s After Dark,” a horror series from Steven Spielberg (which originally was designed to be viewed only after sunset on Quibi).
At the very least, it means the shows will all see the light of day and screens that do not fit into people’s pockets. And it’s an opportunity to finally find out what was going on with all of those viral clips of Rachel Brosnahan getting buried with a golden hand. Finally, 2021 begins to bring us closer together instead of further tearing us apart.