It is officially lights out for Quibi. It was announced back in October that the short-form streaming service, which launched with great ambition and a whole lot of expensive content, was packing it in and shutting down. Now, the day has come. The app has been shut down and it is no longer available to download, with the company stopping support on December 1, as promised. Thus, we have reached the end of a strange chapter in the streaming wars.
Founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg with Meg Whitman on board as CEO, Quibi launched on April 6 into a world it was not ready for. The plan, undoubtedly, was not to launch a mobile-only streaming service designed for on-the-go viewing during a global crisis that kept most people at home. But that’s exactly what happened. Subscribers weren’t rolling in and the business simply couldn’t sustain. In a message posted on the company’s website, it was confirmed that December 1 would be the final day to use the service.
“Quibi has made the difficult decision to wind down. We anticipate that the service will end streaming on or about December 1, 2020. We appreciate the support we have received from our customers and want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to entertain you.”
That indeed came to pass. Quibi is no longer available to download. Those who have subscribed and/or downloaded the streaming app previously can still open it. They just can’t log in to their accounts. When trying to do so, one is simply greeted with an error message. The app will remain on the device until it is deleted. The content, which included boundless hours of high-priced, short-form shows from A-list creators, is now going to have to try and find a new home.
Quibi managed to raise an eye-raising $1.75 billion in funding. The idea was to create short-form, premium content, labeled as “quick bites,” generally less than ten minutes per episode. This included revivals of Reno 911! and Punk’d, as well as originals like Dummy and Die Hart. The company is said to have spent a staggering $6 million per hour of content produced. One of the biggest issues in gaining traction was the fact that the app was only available on mobile devices. Those who paid to subscribe couldn’t watch it on their TV, at least not with ease. The service ran for h $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without ads per month.
One of the most damning statistics is that a reported 90 percent of users left the service after the free trial expired. Not to mention that, in addition to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, the company was also competing with Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Peacock. Not to mention YouTube, since they were dealing with short-form mobile content. The big question now is what happens to the content library. For now, no buyer has emerged but it could be tricky to navigate the rights issues. Anyone with questions can head on over to Quibi.com for answers on its end of service FAQ page.