To say 2020 has been a rough year for Quibi only paints half of the picture. Sure, company’s go through rough patches, as many are finding themselves in right now during the global pandemic. Unfortunately, Quibi’s history only dates back to April, and the platform’s short history has been, well, one big rough patch. And if a Wall Street Journal report is any indication, Quibi’s future seems to be truly up in the air.
According to the WSJ, people familiar with Quibi’s current situation are saying that the streaming platform is exploring a number of financial options, including the possibility of a full sale, due to the service’s 2020 woes. As mentioned, the service launched during the pandemic, hoping to capitalize on the public’s reliance on streaming entertainment during lockdown. However, with its mobile-first strategy, people were let down by the idea of watching things primarily on their phone, an issue that was compounded by the confusing marketing and the lack of showstopping content. And all the early buzz that was built quickly fell away as people realized that Quibi just isn’t the revolutionary streamer that was promised.
In a statement given to WSJ, Quibi said, “Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform. [Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and Chief Executive Meg Whitman] are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees.”
While we have been critical of Quibi in the past, specifically when it comes to the lackluster series that the platform launched with, we were thoroughly impressed by the recent offering, “Wireless.” That series, which used the mobile-first streaming service in a way that has yet to be done by other platforms, thanks to innovative technology, does show that Quibi has potential. Unfortunately, when you are a company that has received more than $1 billion in investments, the tepid response is not good enough and not even a fun show like “Wireless” can cure all your ills.
This is far from the first time that financial reports about Quibi have painted a doomed picture. However, with this, it’s unsure if the company will survive as it currently stands or if we are on the brink of something massive regarding the future of Quibi and its mobile-first strategy. We shall see.