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When Quibi launched earlier this year, it sounded kind of cool. Episodes specifically designed for mobile viewing that automatically adjusted to however you were currently holding your phone? Sure, let's give it a shot! But unfortunately, Quibi never really took off. Now, the only episode left is a finale for the video streaming platform itself—The Wall Street Journal says Quibi has decided to shut down.
Earlier today, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg informed investors that he is shutting the service down. It's a disappointing end for the service that promised to revolutionize the way we consume content. Analysts believe the pandemic situation kept many potential Quibi-ers stuck at home instead of on-the-go, which made the mobile-optimized video less appealing. When people want to watch something at home, they generally prefer to use the biggest screen possible.
When it launched, Quibi didn't work on smart TVs or even support Chromecasting content to them. Heck, it still doesn't have a web client. The company finally introduced apps for Android TV, Apple TV, and Fire TV yesterday, but it was a little late to do any good. While Katzenberg reportedly tried to sell Quibi off to someone else, several potential suitors were put off that Quibi doesn't own most of the shows it streams.
The service did boast some unique content from big names in entertainment, but ultimately, that wasn't enough to save Quibi from drowning in a sea of streaming services that offer more content on more devices. It's unclear when Quibi will go offline and what'll happen to its content, but an official announcement of the shutdown will most likely appear soon with those details.
Quibi's founder and CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, have made the news official. In a candid post on Medium, they explained that despite their best efforts to make sure the service succeeds, they failed. Launching in the middle of a pandemic could have played a negative role, but they don't discount the possibility that Quibi's idea as a whole may have not been "strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service." Regardless of the reason, the end result is the same, and they will be winding down the business and looking for buyers over the next month that'd be interested in Quibi's content and technology assets.
Quibi has started sending messages to its subscribers informing them that the service will fully shut down "on or about" December 1st, 2020. At that point, no one will be able to sign in or access any shows. Quibi has yet to find a buyer for its content catalog, so unless that changes, the only place you'll be able to watch its shows is on the high seas.