Quibi, the short-form streaming service that launched earlier this year, is possibly eyeing a sale. The company entered the streaming landscape back in April with the aim of capitalizing on mobile viewing and “quick bite” programming from A-list creatives. It seems the service itself may end up being a quick bite in the history books as the video platform is said to be exploring new options following its lackluster launch.
According to multiple reports, Quibi, which is headed up by Jeffrey Katzenberg, is said to be exploring a potential sale, among other options. Another round of funding and a possible public offering are also said to be on the table. In a statement, a Quibi spokesperson had this to say about it.
“Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform. [CEO] Meg [Whitman] and Jeffrey are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees. We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”
Should this prove to be true (and there is plenty of reason to think it is) it would be a remarkable turn of events. Quibi made a big splash by raising just shy of $2 billion in funding during its development. That helped them attract a huge stable of creators, including Kevin Hart, Anna Kendrick, Sam Raimi and many, many more to craft content for the service. They even brought back Reno 911! from the dead. Quibi is only available on mobile devices and features short episodes, 10 minutes or less, that make up a season. Many of the shows, more or less, worked out to play like a movie broken up into small chunks.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. The company had originally expected to have 7.4 million streaming subscribers by the end of 2020. By June, they were on track to have 2 million. The other huge issue is user retention. Following the 90-day trial period, it was reported that 90 percent of the users left the service. Granted, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman couldn’t possibly have predicted what 2020 would bring. They also are contending with a crowded marketplace that now includes Peacock, HBO Max and Disney+, in addition to Netflix. With the numbers being what they are, the possibility of a sale or some other bold strategy would make sense.
There is no word currently on who might be in position to purchase Quibi, assuming a sale is indeed on the table. Anyone who does buy it would likely be interested strictly in the content that could be repackaged. Quibi goes for $4.99 per month for an ad-supported version of $7.99 per month for the ad-free version. Meanwhile, several of Quibi’s hit shows, such as Reno 911! and Die Hart have already been renewed for a second season. It remains unclear what would happen to those projects if a sale ends up taking place. This news was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.