Quibi calls it quits – Bite-size platform to end in December…

Founders blame COVID fallout for crippling their 'minisode' format...

With so many new platforms entering the marketplace over the last year or so, it was inevitable there would start to be some high-profile casualties that wouldn’t make it. It would appear that one of the first to fall will be Quibi.

The selling-point of the service was bite-size dramas – essentially drive-by dramas that could be enjoyed in 10-15 minute ‘minisode’ format and most likely on-the-move with smart-devices. The initial wave of productions included big directorial names such as Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Antoine Fuqua and there was backing from major players such as Disney, eOne, Fox, ITV, Lionsgate, MGM, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, Viacom and WarnerMedia. However what might have been an interesting addition to a wider and more conventional service  appears not to have been enough to support that unique, singular remit and Quibi will cease operations ‘on or around’ 1stDecember, barely eight-months after its April 2020 launch.

In a statement, founder Jeffrey Katzenberg noted the exceptional circumstances of 2020 saying that the service was no longer viable and that  “…the world has changed dramatically since Quibi launched.  

Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did. Our failure was not for lack of trying; we’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us,” the statement continued.

Though there appeared to be no definitive warning prior to the statement, Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman made the announcement to their investors on Wednesday, saying that their efforts to find a new buyer had been unsuccessful. It is not known whether the various dramas that have run on the platform to date – including the likes of Most Dangerous Game  or the new take on The Fugitive – may eventually find a streaming/broadcast home elsewhere (either in their episodic format or joined together as more conventional film-format drama.

“At this time we do not know if the Quibi content will be available anywhere after our last day of service,” the platform’s customer support service posted. “We recommend following #Quibi on Twitter for any news regarding content.”

On a practical side the closing of Quibi will also  mean the loss of 200 jobs within the company. The company said it will be notifying current subscribers as to the final date that they’ll be able to access Quibi, though even after the announcement the promotional website appears to be promoting subscriptions and not mentioning its imminent demise.