Quibi, the short-video platform founded by US media proprietor and former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, is considering various strategies – including a potential sale – after a spluttering start has resulted in a failure to meet subscriber targets.
According to a WSJ report, as well as a sale, options on the table also include raising more funds, or going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company such as Amazon.
The platfrom launched in April with the goal of entertaining viewers via short-form content streamed exclusively on mobile devices – to fill lulls the day such as commutes, waiting rooms and coffee breaks. However, with lockdown measures enforced as a reulst of the pandemic most people have remained at home watching content on the main TV set in their homes.
By the end of its first year, Quibi was hoping to have 7.2 million paid subscribers; however, at the height of the pandemic in June it was reported that the brand had fewer than 2 million. Despite landing big names like Chance the Rapper, Chrissy Teigen, Stephanie McMahon and Jennifer Lopez to create content, it hasn’t proved comparable to rivals such as Netflix and Disney+.
In a New York Times interview in May, Katzenberg blamed the service’s disappointing launch on the pandemic. “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Katzenberg said. Advanced-Television’s Nick Snow wasn’t so sure.
Quibi declined to comment to the WSJ when quizzed about new strategies, however a company spokeswoman said: “Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform.”
The representative added that Katzenberg and Chief Executive Meg Whitman “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.”