UPDATED 10/21, 6:20 p.m.
NEW YORK—Quibi, the mobile-focused streaming service that offered 10-minute episodes, is shutting down. The news, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, has been confirmed by Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman.
"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."
Quibi launched in April, featuring a number of star-driven series that were broken up into 10-minute episodes meant to be watched on people’s phones. However, because pandemic restrictions have kept people at home, people quickly wanted to be able to watch Quibi’s programming on their TVs, which was not immediately available.
The platform eventually added a casting capability, but in July, after its initial free trial promotion ended, 90% of users on free trials did not keep the service at a $4.99/month plan. TVT’s sister publication Next|TV reported that earlier this week Quibi added TV apps on Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Android TV.
Quibi will now start to wind down its operations and plans 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 Whitman. "We continue to believe that there is an attractive market for premium, short-form content. Over the coming months we will be working to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential."
Quibi raised $1.75 billion ahead of its April launch. However, reports said that the company was looking for additional funding, and The Information reported earlier this week that attempted sales of Quibi’s catalog of content to Facebook and NBCUniversal failed. Quibi says that it will return the remaining funds from that $1.75 billion to investors "as specified in the company's operating agreement."
Quibi subscribers will receive separate notifications on when the platform will no longer be accessible.
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