QuibiSource: Quibi

What you need to know

  • Quibi has announced that its streaming service is shutting down.
  • The company is returning as much capital to investors as possible rather than to continue.
  • Employees of the company will be laid off and paid a severence.

Reported by The Wall Street Journal, Quibi has announced that it is shutting down after trying to break into the streaming market for six months. The service, which created shows broken out into bite-sized episodes and allowed you to watch either horizontally or vertically on your smartphone, struggled to get any traction in subscribers.

"Our failure was not for lack of trying," founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and Chief Executive Meg Whitman said in an open letter to employees and investors. "We've considered and exhausted every option available to us."

Thankfully, employees who jumped on board the company will be paid severence, and the content that Quibi has produced will look to be sold to other media companies.

Employees will be laid off and will be paid a severance, the people said, and Quibi will explore selling the rights to some of its content to other media and technology companies. During a video call with employees Wednesday, an emotional Mr. Katzenberg suggested Quibi staffers listen to the song "Get Back Up Again," sung by actress Anna Kendrick in the animated film "Trolls," to buoy their spirits, according to people familiar with the call.

Katzenberg and Whitman believe that Qubi's failure was due to either an inability to justify it as a standalone streaming service or the pandemic.

In Wednesday's letter, Mr. Katzenberg and Ms. Whitman said there were "one or two reasons" for Quibi's failure: The idea behind Quibi either "wasn't strong enough to justify a stand-alone streaming service" or the service's launch in the middle of a pandemic was particularly ill-timed. "Unfortunately, we will never know, but we suspect it's been a combination of the two," they said.

The service had just launched on the Apple TV yesterday. You can read the full report from The Wall Street Journal.