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Quibi Is Shutting Down Less Than a Year After Its Launch

Robyn Merrett
·3-min read

Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Quibi

Quibi is closing its doors.

Less than a year after its launch, the streaming service is shutting down, The Wall Street Journal first reported. Founder and chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who co-founded DreamWorks Animation, reportedly informed investors of the news on Wednesday.

WSJ reports that the call was made in part to lower-than-expected viewership and disappointing download numbers.

In a press release, the company confirmed its intention to "wind down its business operations and initiate a process to sell its assets" following a "comprehensive assessment of strategic and financial options."

"Quibi was founded to create the next generation of storytelling," Katzenberg said in a statement. "We have assembled a world-class creative and engineering team that has created an original platform fueled by groundbreaking technology and IP, enabling consumers to view premium content in a whole new way. The world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched and our standalone business model is no longer viable. I am deeply grateful to our employees, investors, talent, studio partners and advertisers for their partnership in bringing Quibi to millions of mobile devices."

RELATED: What Is Quibi? Learn About the Streaming Platform Backed by Jennifer Lopez and Zac Efron

Quibi plans to work with its legal and financial advisors over the coming months to dissolve the company and identify a suitable buyer or buyers for its assets.

"While we have enough capital to continue operating for a significant period of time, we made the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our talented colleagues with grace," said Meg Whitman, Quibi CEO. "We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content. Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential."

Quibi — which was marketed as a quick and easy way to indulge in entertainment, featuring "chapters" of 10 minutes or less, formatted to be watched on your phone — had raised $1.75 billion in capital, according to WSJ.

The streaming platform hit phones in April 2020, having secured support from Hollywood heavyweights like Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez and Zac Efron.

"I'm going to continue to believe, and argue, and preach that Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television," Katzenberg told Vanity Fair in 2019. "Our [service] is exclusively about what you do from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your phone. And what you're doing today, if you're in our core demographic of 25- to 35-year-olds, is you're actually watching 60 to 70 min of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. That growth is now a well established consumer habit that Quibi is sailing into."

Users paid $4.99 to access the platform with advertising or $7.99 without it. Subscribers will receive separate notifications regarding the final date of access to the platform.

Amongst its offerings, comedian Chris Rock narrated Wild Kingdom, a series of short documentaries produced by National Geographic on the platform, Emmy-winning actress Lena Waithe helmed her own sneaker show titled You Ain't Got These, and Lopez hosted her own show, Thanks a Million. On the series, Lopez and nine other public figures kickstarted a chain of kindness by gifting $100,000 to an unsuspecting individual who had to pay it forward by giving away half of that money to someone else.