Quibi has lasted for seven months from April – December of 2020. In short, Quibi was a bold move to establish a brand new Netflix-like streaming service with a pretty big twist to it, the word Quibi stands for quick bites because all of their content was less than 10 min long. It was meant to be watched exclusively on your phone while you have some downtime during the day if you are waiting for your next class or waiting for your transportation or standing in some line or in the waiting room you’ve known that 5-10 min when you’re looking around on Instagram or something else their hope was that you would instead fire up the Quibi app and watch there 10-minute shows or movies.

The ad-supported plan costs $4.99-7.99 without an ad. Led by veteran Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman, the streaming service was designed to be a revolutionary way to watch videos on the go, with shows and films specifically formatted to work in both landscape and portrait modes. With nearly $2 billion raised before Quibi even launched in April and a long line of Hollywood talent on board to provide movies and shows, Katzenberg and Whitman felt pretty good about their prospects. So why did Quibi fail?


Saying that Quibi’s shows were “bad” is not exactly quantitative analysis. But ignoring this factor in Quibi’s demise would be silly. Quibi’s whole schtick was its brand-new format, which meant that it needed brand-new content (only a few shows on Quibi, like Reno 911, were clearly connected to pre-Quibi content). And Quibi’s content was universally panned. Reviewers couldn’t stand the new shows, and there’s no evidence that regular viewers were any more sympathetic.

With all of the derision aimed at Quibi’s unusual short-form and mobile experiments, the fact that its content was so poorly received is sometimes forgotten. But this factor might be the single most important one, and that’s useful to remember in the context of other streaming services — especially at a time when virtually all streaming services are being forced to rely more heavily on their original content.

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The fact that Quibi charged $5 a month for garbage bin entertainment (or $8 a month without ads) was nonsensical. The entertainment people were getting for free on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch, combined with the highly talked-about shows and movies they were paying for already on Netflix, Amazon, and Disney Plus, left Quibi’s additional price not exactly something to be desired. Quibi tested a completely ad-supported free tier in Australia and New Zealand a couple of months before the company shuttered, but by that point, it was too little, too late.


Think back to the last time you saw an ad for Quibi on TV, Instagram, or TikTok. What about a specific show? Quibi was notably bad at marketing. There was an expensive Super Bowl ad that failed to actually demonstrate what Quibi was (that ran months before Quibi was available), leaving people more confused than anything else. None of the ads for shows ever traveled on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Arguably, part of the reason Quibi and its various series, including many of its multimillion-dollar bets, never took off is because no one outside of Media Twitter knew they even existed.


The problem that Quibi could never address was, “Why do I need this?” Katzenberg and Whitman repeatedly said “we’re not competing with Netflix,” but Quibi was competing with Netflix and every other app. Without a library of great content that other streamers have or social capabilities that other apps use, Quibi needed one show to get people to open the app. That never happened. There was no reason to ever open Quibi. A streaming service needs to feel essential to people’s daily lives to survive; Quibi never even made the case to get people to download.


Streaming services and social media apps aren’t just vying for your credit card; they also want your attention — constantly. If people are spending their days watching Netflix, playing Fortnite, scrolling through TikTok, and posting on Instagram, it’s going to require something exceptional to take their attention away. Quibi was full of spaghetti content — noodles thrown at the wall to see what sticks. While Quibi tried to get people’s attention, time spent on the aforementioned apps (and sites like Twitch and YouTube) grew rapidly. It wasn’t that people didn’t have more time at home to watch things; they just didn’t want to watch Quibi.

In the end, I would like to say that I respect Quibi for what they attempted, I do think they were off base with most of it and did very little that worked out but it was a bold experiment.

Source – Company Man, BBC News

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