Quibi announced recently that they would be calling it quits, less than one year after launching into the streaming service industry that is now saturated by big business owners and their endless content.
The app’s demise was officially announced this past Wednesday, six months after its launch, in what’s being referred to as the most predictable business failings of 2020. The app was founded by Disney and DreamWorks alumnus Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
The app initially advertised itself as a streaming service that delivers face-paced, short-length television episodes and movies that the average individual can watch throughout their day whenever they have free time. The idea behind Quibi was that you can watch an episode of a TV show while waiting for the train, or on your lunch break, without having to worry about stopping the episode half-way through when you have to return to your daily responsibilities.
Hence its name, Quibi, which means “quick bites” of entertainment. On average the TV shows and documentaries were 7-9 minutes in length. Initially, the app had a lot of Hollywood agents and investors ready and willing to dip their toe into this new form of streaming. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic arose in March, the idea of “on the go entertainment,” became a foreign idea for most who were now quarantining in their homes indefinitely.
In March, when Quibi was asked about the dilemma of running an app that advertises itself as entertainment on the move in the middle of a pandemic that forces everyone to stay home, the company dismissed the concerns. However, the pandemic wasn’t the only issue that arose with the app. After the first two months users were left uninterested in the limited and quick content that it offered, and many began deactivating their accounts.
Quibi also arrived on the market months after the initial wave of major companies in the world announcing their participation in the streaming service industry. Platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and of course the more established Netflix and Hulu have existed for quite some time now, so a completely new streaming service offering a new type of entertainment entering into the market right at the beginning of a global health crisis, set Quibi up for some massive failures.
In a recent open letter published by both Katzenberg and Whitman, the two acknowledged that they personally may never understand why the platform failed as quickly and greatly as it did.
“The media migration from the traditional ad-supported template to a direct-to-consumer subscription model continues to basically fly blind, leaving companies largely guessing about where the saturation point resides.”
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently was interviewed about the future of the streaming industry and the multitude of new players trying to get involved. He claimed that additional service casualties will definitely be expected as time progresses, but overall “we’ll see what happens.” Quibi unfortunately set the standard of these casualties, which will likely lead many businesses to rework their plans for new services.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.