Just six months after launching, Quibi, a short-form mobile-native video platform led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is shutting down. In a statement released Wednesday, Quibi announced plans to wind down operations and initiate the sale of its assets, after which “remaining funds will be returned to its investors as specified in the Company’s operating agreement.” Some of those companies include Disney, NBCUniversal, Viacom, Sony Pictures Entertainment, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, ITV, and Entertainment One.
Katzenberg and Whitman wrote in a letter to Quibi’s staff, investors and partners that “we feel that we’ve exhausted all our options. As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace. We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight.”
The service was targeted a younger demographic, with content delivered in 10-minute episodes called “quick bites.” But the digital competition is fierce, with HBO Max and Peacock launching at about the same time. It was also launched a month into a pandemic that forced millions of Americans to go into lockdown mode at home. That meant Quibi was never quite given the chance to test out Katzenberg’s theory that viewers would pay to watch slices of dramas and unscripted shows while waiting in line for coffee at places like Starbucks, as he envisioned.
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