Quibi is shutting down, Katzenberg blames coronavirus for the failure
Quibi is shutting down, officially, with its founder Jeffrey Katzenberg confirming the same. We now know why strategy meetings have been getting canceled for a while. The service, which was a labor of love for Katzenberg and a ray of hope for various high-profile investors promoting the short-format entertainment OTT platform everywhere possible, is closing shop after being in operation for just six months.
Katzenberg, the founder of DreamWorks and former head of Walt Disney Studios, had a path-breaking idea. In an interview with The Verge, he had cleared the early misconceptions regarding Quibi joining the OTT race. He had said that biggies such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime are all aiming for the television, but Quibi would target smartphones. Hence, the competition didn't exist, he had claimed.
Quibi is actually an acronym for Quick Bites, which is what the subscription-based platform was offering. There were chapter-like episodes spanning over 5-10 minutes. Big names such as Steven Spielberg, Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lopez were taken as future collaborators of Quibi, but Katzenberg blames "everything" on coronavirus. "I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus," Katzenberg told The New York Times.
Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman signed an open letter, explaining how Quibi "is not succeeding," because "the idea itself wasn't strong enough or because of our timing." "The circumstances of launching during a pandemic is something we could have never imagined but other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it. We were not able to do so."
Reportedly, Katzenberg and Whitman informed the investors of their decision via a video call. The company had raised a whopping $1.75bn. Quibi, which also won two trophies at Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2020 for #FreeRayshawn, has 100 shows. Katzenberg has been trying to sell the shows since last month and had offered the catalog to NBCUniversal and Facebook, who refused, informed inside sources.