Short video app Quibi was launched in April this year as an unconventional mobile-first short video streaming platform. However, just six months after its much-hyped launch, the short-form video app is now shutting down, as the video streaming service wasn’t able to gain a significant enough user base. Quibi’s CEO Meg Whitman announced the development in a press release on Tuesday, saying that while the company has enough money to keep operating for a significant period of time, but it’s opting out to make an exit with grace.
The company has said that it will shop its assets around to see if anyone wants to buy them and will return cash to its stakeholders in the coming days. “Quibi was a big idea, and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did. Our failure was not for lack of trying; we’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us,” Whitman, along with founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a joint open letter. The leaders also acknowledged the fact that the company’s fate was met by the timing of their launch which came during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the fact that a service like Quibi could not thrive as a standalone business. Whitman and Katzenberg also apologised to their customers for letting them down in the letter.
Quibi was launched in the US and Canada as a service designed to watch videos on the go – at a time when people across the world were locked indoors to contain the spread of COVID-19. The timing and flawed strategies kept the service from reaching its ambitious growth goals.
Quibi was launched with the idea of providing 10-minute or less episodes that users can only watch on mobile devices. This was supposed to be a sweet spot between the crowded streaming landscape with players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and more. More than that, the short-video approach meant that Quibi was going in competition with the video streaming mammoth YouTube, which rakes in 2 billion viewers every month. The company launched also with big pockets, great talent on-board, and a star-studded roster of creators like LeBron James, Dwayne Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Chance the Rapper, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Zac Efron, Liam Hemsworth, Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner, and more. All of that, however, did not prove to be enough to ensure Quibi’s success.