The Quibi mobile TV experiment may be short-lived, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal report claiming the ‘quick bite’ service may be shut down imminently.
The business bible says the struggling streaming service, which prides itself on original short-form programming designed for viewing on smartphones, is preparing to call it a day. Barely six months after Quibi debuted promising a different approach to a crowded streaming market, the company has reportedly been advised to abandon ship.
The WSJ report (via Variety) comes after founder Jeffrey Katzenberg reportedly “told people in the industry that he may have to shut down the company,” which raised a whopping $1.75 billion in pre-launch funding.
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The company’s viewing figures and subscriber levels are thought to be under half a million worldwide and there have been reports the company has been seeking a sale to streaming rivals like Apple and Warner, but with no bites. Standing in the way of any sale is thought to be the fact Quibi doesn’t own any of the content available for streaming. All of the series are licensed, so there’s little incentive for a competitor to bail the firm out.
Earlier this week, the company launched apps for Android TV, Apple TV and Fire TV, which in itself was an admission that its staunch mobile-exclusive proposition wasn’t going to plan. Such was the strength of the smartphone-first proposition that the shows have even been filmed in a way that allows the viewer to watch full-screen in landscape or portrait mode.
However, it seems the original star-studded shows like Chrissy’s Court, Die Hart, Elba vs Block and Nikki Fre$h haven’t been enough to convince people to give Quibi a chance to perfect things. Our review afforded the service just 2.5 stars out of a possible 5. We suggested that, despite the few hidden gems on show, there was little to suggest Quibi would disrupt the streaming scene – especially at £7.99 a month.