Quibi Shuts Down Seven Months After Launching: Founders Blame TIming

Earlier this year, we wrote about the US$1.3 billion Quibi failure.

Well, just seven months after launching, Quibi is shutting down.

The brainchild of former Disney chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and former eBay CEO, Meg Whitman, the demise of the short-form streaming service was confirmed in a Medium post by the pair. 

“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. 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”, they wrote. 

The pair still seem hell-bent on protecting their collective egos by refusing to take the blame - like any good leader does.

“And yet, Quibi is not succeeding. Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”

No items found.

It was not timing. 

  • It was sub-standard content.
  • It was charging people for short-form content, in a world of YouTube and TikTok, where short-form content is free.
  • It was restricting viewing to mobile, with no way to stream it via televisions or laptops. 
  • It was entering a saturated market, dominated by Netflix, Disney+, Prime, YouTube and TikTok with no compelling differentiator. 

It was ultimately falling victim to the optimism bias - perhaps based on past success, and not effectively validating market appetite for the service before sinking the GDP of the Solomon Islands into the product. 

“Although the circumstances were not right for Quibi to succeed as a standalone company, our team achieved much of what we set out to accomplish…”. 

Really? Like growing the subscriber base, building a sustainable business, and generating a return on investment? 

Ego protection aside, Katzenberg and Whitman should be commended for trying to take something new to market - and take it to the streaming media behemoths, at a point in their careers where they could quite comfortably hang up the proverbial boots. But as is always the case when it comes to new products or services, it’s not the idea that matters, but the execution.

Better luck next time, folks!

October 26, 2020




Steve Glaveski


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