Quibi, the short-form video streaming service that made a splash at CES 2020 with its Turnstyle feature, is shutting down, according to separate reports from The Wall Street Journal and The Information.
The Wall Street Journal reports Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg called the startup’s investors on Wednesday to tell them that he plans to shutter the platform. In recent weeks, the company reportedly hired a restructuring firm to advise it. The WSJ says the firm presented its recommendations to Quibi’s board of directors this week. One of its suggestions was that the startup wind down operations. The decision to involve a restricting firm came after the startup reportedly tried to find a buyer for its struggling business. We’ve reached out to Quibi for comment, and we’ll update this article when we hear back from the company.
Before today’s pair of reports, it was clear Quibi was struggling. In August, the company reduced the cost of its subscription in Australia and New Zealand and began offering a free subscription tier in the two countries. It also tried other measures to attract subscribers, such as streaming previews of its originals on YouTube. Whether any of those helped is hard to say, but what is clear is that Quibi’s emphasis on short-form, mobile streaming didn’t help it when the coronavirus pandemic struck. It also didn’t help that Quibi was slow to start allowing people to stream its content to TV screens.
Whatever factors ultimately led Quibi to where it is today, the startup will go down as one of the major missteps in recent tech history. Katzenberg raised approximately $1.75 billion in startup capital to launch Quibi and convinced high-profile companies like Pepsi and Walmart to advertise on the platform.
Update (6:30 PM ET): It’s official — Quibi is closing.