Short-form streamer Quibi formally shuttered as asset sell-off heats up


Short-form and short-lived streaming service Quibi has officially ceased operations just seven months after launching, with the service now selling remaining assets.

The Jeffrey Katzenberg-created company announced in October that it would shut down in December, but did not mention a specific date. However, no later than the first of the month, Quibi has shut up shop.

While users can still open the app, it is impossible to log in or watch any of the ‘quick bites’ of SVOD content on which the streamer hung its hat.

The process of selling off Quibi’s tech and content licences is now well underway, as the streamer attempts to make back some of the $1.75bn it had raised ahead of launch from companies including BBC Studios, ITV Studios, Disney, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and Lionsgate.

The service did not own IP but instead struck seven-year licences, while IP owners could also re-sell their content on a non-exclusive basis two years after the show premiered.

While there are a multitude of reasons as to why Quibi failed, a joint letter from Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman identified the poor timing of launching a mobile-oriented service in a pandemic, and “because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service.”

Quibi was also demanding a minimum of $4.99 per month for users to access the service, a charge that coincided with the rise of fellow short-form streamer TikTok in the US, which is entirely free.

Despite an initial launch window in which the app was downloaded by more than 2.7 million people, reactions to the service were lukewarm at best.

The pandemic put Quibi in an unfavourable position, but a conversion rate of less than 10% from its free trial indicated that users were simply not interested in the platform and its content and that the coronavirus was being used as something of a smokescreen. Reports suggested that as few as 72,000 people were converted into paying subscribers at the end of their three-month trials.

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