Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'
Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior reporter, covering venture capital. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks. Follow him on Twitter.
With the highly-anticipated launch of the byte sized mobile streaming service Quibi a little more than two months away, CEO Meg Whitman defended the company's massive $1.4 billion fundraising total in front of a roomful of investors and company founders in Pasadena.
"There's no question it's a big bet," she said. "We had to raise enough money to create at launch a completely immersive experience."
Whitman pointed out that Quibi is the first streamer to start without a library, so everything has to be made from scratch. The service will launch April 6th with 50 shows. There are a total of 175 shows planned. "We're actually creating content uniquely shot for the phone, not crammed onto it," she said.
Quibi is offering generous terms to creators, which is why it has been able to attract A-listers like Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon.
"We made it super financially attractive to them," said Whitman. She said Quibi is paying up to $6 million dollars an hour for shows that will be divvied up into episodes that are a few minutes long. In an unusual arrangement, Quibi pays production costs and creators get 20 percent of profits. Most crucially, creators own their own intellectual property after six years.
The Upfront Summit is expected to attract more than 1,200 attendees flocking to the Rose Bowl Jan. 29-30. The invite-only event brings together a diverse mix of entrepreneurs networking with venture players armed with billions of dollars in capital, and headlined by presentations from business leaders including Steve Ballmer, Quibi's Whitman, and Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson.
Links to the conference agenda and the livestream can be found here.
Upfront Ventures holds a non-controlling, minority interest in dot.LA
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NASA is restoring a squiggly graphic representation of its acronym, known as "the Worm," to a place of prominence, 28 years after it was consigned to the dustbin of space history.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine declared that "the worm is back" today in a tweet — and revealed that it's been painted on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that's due to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station as soon as next month. That demonstration mission will mark the first time U.S. astronauts have been launched to orbit from U.S. soil since the retirement of the space shuttle fleet in 2011.
The worm was born in 1975 as an alternative to NASA's original "meatball" logo, which put the acronym inside a blue sphere with a spacecraft zooming around it. Not everyone was a fan: In 1992, the worm fell out of favor and was expunged from use, except on T-shirts and souvenir items. Now the worm has turned.NASA said officials are still assessing exactly how and where the worm will be used, and that the meatball will keep its status as the space agency's primary symbol. Today's turnabout surprised space fans: Some even suspected it was a late April Fool's prank. For the full rundown on the worm, check out Keith Cowing's post at NASA Watch.
This story originally appeared on GeekWire. Love space and science? Sign up for GeekWire's Space & Science email newsletter.
Baffled by the restrictions and sensing a race against the clock until they run out of cash or the program does, small businesses are scrambling to apply for government-backed loans to keep their companies afloat.
The requirements are especially confusing for venture-backed companies, many of which could be excluded from help under the original working of the $2 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.