That's a wrap on Quibi. The short-form streaming service launched earlier this year and was, in some ways, positioned by its backers as the next big thing. That turned out not to be the case. The service has failed to catch on in any meaningful way, which has proved to be financially challenging for the company. As such, it will be shutting down in the near future. It will ultimately have been a short-lived, failed experiment and one of the first major casualties of the streaming wars.
According to a new report, Quibi intends to shut down operations. There is no word yet on how soon that will happen. This comes just over six months after the service launched back in April. In that time, HBO Max and Peacock also entered the crowded streaming marketplace. To distinguish itself from the likes of Netflix and other competition, Quibi specialized in short episodes, around ten minutes each, and designed the experience for mobile viewing. To that point, the app wasn't available outside of mobile devices, which made it somewhat inaccessible for those who may have wanted to watch its programming on a TV from the comfort of home.
Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman raised an eye-melting $1.75 billion to fund the service. That allowed them to get a ton of A-list filmmakers to produce content for Quibi, including Kevin Hart, who made the series Die Hart, as well as Anna Kendrick, who starred in Dummy, among many others. The service also managed to revive Reno 911! which had been of the air for more than a decade. Several shows had already been renewed for additional seasons. It remains unclear at this time what will happen to those shows. Or, for that matter, what will happen to Quibi's vast library of content once the service shuts down. There could be some sort of fire sale, which may represent a big opportunity for other players in the streaming space.
As of this writing, nobody from Quibi has publicly commented on the news. However, last month it was reported that the company was exploring options, which included a sale to a potential buyer. It appears no buyer emerged. A restructuring firm was hired by Quibi to look over its options. It seems the best option, unappealing as it may be for those involved, is to cut losses and shut it down. The streaming service is said to have just 500,000 paying customers, which is well below the company's original projections, to say the very least of it.
Quibi launched with a $4.99 per month plan, which included ads, as well as a $7.99 plan without ads. The company also offered a 90-day free trial out of the gate, which was much longer than what most major services on the market offer. Unfortunately, it was reported that 90 percent of users left after the trial period was over. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news comes to us via the Wall Street Journal.