Streaming start-up Quibi made a splash when it launched in April 2020, providing a distinct alternative to most other streaming services; not only was the company exclusively producing in-house content (as opposed to services that collect back catalogues) but it was mobile-exclusive, designed with quick viewing in mind. Unfortunately for founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, the high-flying app is in for a crash landing, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to sources, Katzenberg recently told investors that the app is shutting down. Despite raising $1.75 billion USD in funding and hundreds of millions of dollars in ad money from big brands like Pepsi Co. and Walmart ahead of its launch, Quibi simply couldn’t draw or retain viewers. Katzenberg originally intended to sell Quibi off, hiring a restructuring firm to offer opinions on parent company Quibi Holdings LLC and shopped the app around to companies that included Comcast and NBC.
Quibi’s issues range from unfortunate timing — the once-mobile-only app launched a month after the coronavirus pandemic incited global lockdowns — to overwhelming difficulty finding a voice amidst countless streaming services. Still, others pointed to the exclusive programming’s mixed quality as a deterrent to success. It didn’t help that Quibi was battling a well-funded tech lawsuit almost immediately after launch.
Katzenberg is expected to imminently update investors on the app’s lifespan.