Quibi, the short video startup, is shutting down just six months after burning through $1.75 billion of investors’ cash
Back in July, we wrote about Quibi when the short video streaming startup exploded after raising $1.8 billion for its short video streaming service for millennials. Now, according to a breaking report from the Wall Street Journal, the entertainment startup, which created short-form, mobile-based streaming content, is shutting down just six months after launching, Quibi famously raised over $1.75 billion in the capital ahead of its launch.
Founded in 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Los Angeles-based Quibi is run by corporate heavyweights Meg Whitman (CEO) and Jeffrey Katzenberg (founder and chairman) and funded by Disney, Alibaba, Comcast, and others. Quibi, which stands for “quick bites,” takes a different approach than the other major streaming players. Instead of full-length shows, Quibi plans to set itself apart by targeting mobile users who can stream short episodes of programming that will run under 10 minutes.
Unlike other streaming services out there, Quibi is differentiating itself by focusing on short-form videos, about ten minutes or less, across a mix of entertainment and news. In June 2019, Quibi made a deal with NBC News to provide daily news programming targeted to millennials.
Quibi says NBC News is the first major producer for “Daily Essentials,” its news and information programming. NBC News’ morning and evening news shows for Quibi will each be under six minutes, seven days a week, and created only for mobile platforms. Quibi has amassed a large group of initial investors, such as Walt Disney and Viacom, totaling $1 billion.
Quibi launched on April 6 at $4.99 per month with ads or $7.99 per month without ads. As part of the launch, Quibi also said it plans to introduce more than 175 original shows and 8,500 short episodes in the 12 months following its launch.
Others said Quibi’s failure has a lot to do Katzenberg leadership. In a Medium post, Steve Glaveski wrote that Quibi’s failure is “A Case Study in Egotistical Leadership.” Below is what Glaveski wrote about Katzenberg:
Speaking with Peter Kafka on the Recode Media podcast, Katzenberg’s language and attitude was diametrically opposed to what you’d expect from somebody with a lifetime of experience at the highest level. He was defensive. He was arrogant. Almost everything Katzenberg said flied in the face of leadership wisdom we’ve garnered from business luminaries such as Ray Dalio, Reed Hastings, Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt or Bill Campbell. It also defied what we‘ve learned from military leaders and leadership thinkers such as General Stanley McChrystal or John Maxwell respectively.
In the end, Katzenberg blamed Quibi’s rocky launch on coronavirus. “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” he told the New York Times.
Below is a video of H3 Podcast Highlights discussing Quibi $2 billion failure.