Why is Quibi Failing Miserably so Far?

Published on June 4, 2020

Have you heard of Quibi? It’s no surprise if you haven’t. Few people are talking about the new streaming service. It’s a new platform that’s living in the shadow of Netflix, HBO Max, Youtube, TikTok, and loads of more alluring streaming services. There was a lot of hype around Quibi, so, what happened?

What Went Wrong

Former Disney and DreamWorks head, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is running the show at Quibi. A few weeks ago, Katzenberg cited the coronavirus as the reason why the streaming service is struggling. The excuse is dubious at best considering streaming services have seen a huge spike in viewership since the coronavirus kept people at home. In the first week of Quibi’s launch, it only got 1.7 million views. 

The Wrong Time to Launch

Katzenberg doesn’t blame a lack of exciting content or a world with already too much content to consume. It’s all because of the coronavirus. Katzenberg admitted to The New York Times the quiet launch wasn’t the dream for the inexpensive app: 

“Is it the avalanche of people that we wanted and were going for out of launch? The answer is no. It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted…If we knew on March 1, which is when we had to make the call [about launching], what we know today, you would say that is not a good idea. The answer is, it’s regrettable. But we are making enough gold out of hay here that I don’t regret it.”

The Future of Quibi 

Katzenberg and Quibi are hoping to have seven million subscribers by the end of the year. That was the hope, anyway. None of their content is gaining acclaim or love online, despite some notable names involved in their projects. There’s just nothing exciting about Quibi yet. However, Katzenberg makes a good point: it’s just the beginning. He added:

“I don’t know what people are expecting from us. What did Netflix look like 30 days after it launched? To tell me about a company that has a billion users and is doing great in the past six weeks, I’m happy for them, but what the hell does it have to do with me?”

Quibi Troubles Continue

Katzenberg secured around a billion dollars for the streaming services. Expectations and hopes were high before reality set in, maybe after the forgettable name of the streaming service was revealed. In its first year, Quibi may lose half a billion dollars. 

Keep in mind, Netflix loses a ton of money all the time, but it’s a rough start for Quibi. Even worse, the word is layoffs may happen soon. 10% of the company’s staff may get laid off, which is crazy to think since the streaming service only launched in April. Executives are already taking a 10% pay cut. 

Lessons Learned?

A part of the problem is, Quibi is boring. It’s content meant for quick, on the go viewing. Katzenberg is not a fan of comparisons to TikTok, but Quibi does sound like a more polished, Hollywoodized and expanded version of that app starring prominent names. Subscribers can only watch the content on their phones, which sounds awful given all the streaming options in the world.

Apparently, Quibi will change this in the future and allow content to play in other mediums. It just sounds like fast-food content Quibi is making. Most of their content sounds awful and hasn’t connected with critics or audiences. Not even a show with Chrissy Teigan playing a judge will get me to sign up for the streaming service. There is, however, a horror show produced and sometimes directed by the great Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) on Quibi that doesn’t sound bad, though.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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