Entertainment Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 3

The Crash and Burn of Quibi

By Eric Khodorenko

Graphic by Jennifer Notman

Quibi, an entertainment company similar to Netflix that marketed its content specifically for mobile devices and with shorter episodes, launched on April 6th, 2020, after raising $1.75 billion. It was headed by ex-Disney Chairman, Jeffrey Katzenburg. Six months after its launch, Quibi announced that it would be shutting down around December 1st. This raises the question: how could a company that raised nearly two billion dollars led by an experienced film producer shut down after just half a year?

Katzenburg initially placed the blame on the COVID-19 pandemic, but began shifting his opinion over time and blaming it on poor timing and a competitive marketplace. Las Lomas Sophomore Ben Murphy echoes this concern: “The timeframe of its launch and the competition with other companies, I think, was a major factor to its downfall.” Las Lomas Sophomore David Slivnyak agrees with Murphy and blames Quibi’s demise on a saturated marketplace; he said, “Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ already dominate the market, making it hard for newcomers with shows that people don’t recognize to enter.” Another major problem consumers initially encountered with Quibi was that you could only watch on a mobile device. Viewers were unable to watch on their TVs until June, two months after release. Quibi’s lack of shows that people are used to hearing of, such as The Office or Friends makes the service’s viability revolve around the quality of their own originals. Quibi’s big stars like Christoph Waltz, Chrissy Teigen, and Liam Hemsworth were Quibi’s attempts to satisfy the need for familiarity, but it seems like they weren’t enough to win over the consumer.

Entering the streaming market in 2020 was most likely the reason Quibi failed so quickly, as established services like Netflix, Hulu, and the newcomer Disney+ already dominate the market. The only way to make headway is to sign big contracts with companies of major shows but as the streaming market matures and more competitors enter the scene like NBC’s Peacock, the number of shows to be signed is dwindling.