Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. 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.

Meg Whitman Defends Quibi's $1.4 Billion Investment as 'A Big Bet'
Aircam

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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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
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Snap’s Fourth Quarter Revenue Was the Company’s Slowest Growth Since Its IPO Six Years Ago

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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