Quibi Struggles To Attract Users, Considers Sale
Quibi has decided to explore strategic options after less than six months in business, including the possibility of sale. The short-form startup, founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, has struggled to secure users in a competitive streaming market. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the company is considering merging with a special purpose acquisition company.
Since launching April 1, Quibi has premiered a variety of streaming content, all of which is under 10 minutes long. Series are led by high-profile talent including Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth, and Anna Kendrick. The platform’s model is designed to give people access to high-quality entertainment on-the-go, and there lies the problem. Quibi debuted during a pandemic, when people were specifically instructed to be the opposite of on-the-go. Under lockdown, people want to binge-watch a series to pass the afternoon, not bite-sized clips. As of June, the company reported 4.5 million downloads and 1.6 million subscribers. By today’s standards, that’s really not a lot.
“Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform,” said a Quibi spokeswoman in a statement. “Meg and Jeffrey are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees.” While this comment doesn’t specifically address Quibi’s decision to sell, it doesn’t deny it either.
In theory, Quibi could have done very well. It’s no secret that quick, digestible content is popular today, especially with younger generations. YouTube — and more recently TikTok — have established that short-form entertainment is something people love. They just might not be ready to pay Quibi’s $4.99 ($7.99 without ads) per month for it.
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