Quibi was a short-lived American short-form streaming platform that generated content for viewing on mobile devices and launched at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was founded in Los Angeles in August 2018 as NewTV by Jeffrey Katzenberg and was led by Meg Whitman, its CEO. The service raised $1.75 billion from investors. It launched in April 2020, but shut down in December 2020 after falling short of its subscriber projections.In January 2021, Quibi’s content library was sold to Roku, Inc. for less than $100 million.
- On October 21, 2020, just six months after Quibi’s launch, The Wall Street Journal reported that the streaming service was shutting down. Later, that same day, this news was confirmed by both Katzenberg and Whitman. Katzenberg told Deadline Hollywood, “There was no question that keeping us going was not going to have a different outcome, it was just going to spend a whole lot more money without any value to show for it.
- So, out of respect for these people that put up this extraordinary amount of capital to do it, that’s irresponsible and we both felt we shouldn’t do it.”In the interview, Katzenberg also cited the unfortunate timing of the launch during the pandemic as a contributing factor. At the time of the announcement, Quibi had approximately 500,000 subscribers.
- The announcement of the shutdown left the fate of existing, upcoming, and planned original programming in “development hell” as QUIBI does not own the rights to any of their programming, since their deals with the creators of their original programming allowed them to retain the copyright to their content and distribute it in traditional forms after a few years.The next day, on October 22, it was announced that Quibi would officially shut down “on or around” December 1.