Recently, some investors decided to throw $1.75 billion at an app, amidst a worldwide pandemic, that peddled short-form content, like a woman obsessed with her golden arm, or a Kardashian impersonator. Now, those investors are probably crying into what’s left of their still sizeable fortunes. Quibi is dead, and good fucking riddance!
The Wall Street Journal reports that Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s joint venture, which raised $1.75 billion without a single (well, maybe a couple) paying subscriber, is folding. The news comes amid a flurry of negative press for Quibi, which, in recent months, has desperately sought prospective buyers and corporate backers willing to take the streaming husk on as a gaudy, overpriced collector’s item. Reports earlier this week claimed Katzenberg had approached Facebook and NBCUniversal, who all passed on a deal.
Laughably, the app launched on April 6 to mostly puzzled reviews. Prospective subscribers, like Jezebel’s very own Megan Reynolds, found the content exceedingly snooze-worthy without the helpful haze of drugs. In a survey of the content, Reynolds surmised: “Quibi is an excellent place for experimentation and a truly deranged incubator for bad TV. In a landscape overcrowded with shows elbowing for prestige, it’s nice to let something in that is demonstrably, inarguably bad.” Reports on subscriber numbers appeared to reflect its frazzled mess of “shows,” or “quick bites,” as publicists for the app helpfully reminded me for months after launch. According to app tracking firm Sensor Tower, by July, Quibi had bled almost 90% of subscribers once the three-month trial ran out, leaving only a meager 72,000 people (Quibi denies this number) to putz around in its crumbling ruins. For comparison, HBO Max, another curious byproduct of the streaming age, boasted 4.1 million subscribers in its first month.
Anyways, this bitch is dead now, and I’m finding it hard to feel anything but a smug satisfaction. As always, the people paid the most know the least about literally everything. QuiBye!