UPDATED; 7:28 AM The end credits have finished rolling for Quibi, the ambitious short-form subscription video service that launched last April at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Quibi still has a working website and a profile on major social media platforms. But the social accounts have become private and the Quibi app no longer allows users to sign in or view programming. When subscribers try to log in, they get an error message, but the app will stay on their phones until it is deleted.
Founder Katzenberg and CEO Whitman debuted their much trumpeted entry into a crowded streaming market after waves of marketing funded by $1.75 billion in startup financing, only to see it quickly fizzle.
The final exit is right on schedule for Quibi, which was initially founded by Katzenberg, who recruited his long-ago Disney colleague Whitman to run it as CEO. In a note on its site on October 22, the company said it expected to go fully dark by today, December 1.
After unsuccessfully looking for a buyer in the latter stages of its brief life, the company has also sought to find homes for some of its high priced series, though that has also been a challenge – to put it mildly.
PREVIOUSLY, OCT 22: A day after Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman announced their “clear-eyed” decision to shutter the six-month-old star-studded mobile subscription-video platform, Quibi has declared that December 1 will be its “last day of service.”
“Quibi has made the difficult decision to wind down,” said a self-described “end of service announcement” today on the FAQ section of the platform. “We anticipate that the service will end streaming on or about December 1, 2020. We appreciate the support we have received from our customers and want to thank you for giving us an opportunity to entertain you. If you have any questions or need assistance in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Moving far faster than the several months of wind-down that had been bandied about Wednesday and with about 200 employees now heading towards unemployment, today’s end-of-service update leaves the Quibi app’s 500,000 or so sign-ups soon in the dark. It also looks to be the final curtain on series like Emmy winner #FreeRayshawn, Liam Hemsworth starrer Most Dangerous Game, Dummy with Anna Kendrick and the remake of The Fugitive with Kiefer Sutherland – at least if Katzenberg and Whitman can’t find any buyers.
“At this time we do not know if the Quibi content will be available anywhere after our last day of service,” the end of service announcement adds with some degree of ambiguity. “We recommend following #Quibi on Twitter for any news regarding content.”
Having raised about $1.7 billion from the major studios and Wall Street investment firms, Quibi launched in April to great fanfare with lots of big names and a 90-day free trial. Nonetheless, with the coronavirus pandemic but one factor taking the wind out of the sails of Quibi’s short-form entertainment offering for viewers on the go, the app soon tumbled down the most download list and signups remained slim.
After weeks of speculation and with no clear path to success in sight, Katzenberg and Whitman on October 21 faced up to hard facts. “We started with the idea to create the next generation of storytelling and because of you, we were able to create and deliver the best version of what we imagined Quibi to be,” the founder and CEO said in a letter yesterday to staff, investors and others. “So it is with an incredibly heavy heart that today we are announcing that we are winding down the business and looking to sell its content and technology assets.”