Quibi Will Shut Down After Failing to Find a Buyer

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.

Quibi Will Shut Down After Failing to Find a Buyer
Image courtesy\u00a0of Quibi

Less than seven months after launching, the high-flying streaming service Quibi has shut down.

Despite a sold-out advertising slate, deals with A-listers and a $1.75 billion war chest from high-profile investors the former Disney executive and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg couldn't make the short-form mobile video platform stick.

Katzenberg called investors on Wednesday to tell them Quibi would shut down, ending one of Hollywood's most high-profile streaming endeavors by a storied executive. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Shortly after, Katzenberg and the company's CEO, Meg Whitman, published a post on Medium acknowledging the news and blaming it on a combination of the pandemic and the execution.

"Quibi is not succeeding," they wrote. "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."

The two said they would return cash to shareholders and look for buyers for their remaining assets.

"While the result was not what any of us wanted, we did accomplish a number of things and we are very proud of what the talented Quibi team has built with the blood, sweat, and tears that they poured into this business over these past two years," they wrote.

Katzenberger had tried to sell Quibi to tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and NBCUniversal, The Information reported. All passed. He also considered taking the company public to raise additional funds, according to the Wall St. Journal. That didn't pan out either.

"Our failure was not for lack of trying; we've considered and exhausted every option available to us," Katzenberg and Whitman wrote.

Launched on April 6, with dozens of short-form original series, Quibi executives said they did not intend to compete with Netflix or Hulu. Instead, they hoped targeted viewers on their mobile devices for short-form content, aiming to catch them while they were waiting in line or looking for a quick entertainment fix in between other moments. But the company failed to catch on and faced fierce competition by YouTube, Facebook and other short-format video platforms that millennials and Gen Z have already adopted.

Katzenberg had previously blamed lackluster user reach on the pandemic and the stay-at-home culture it created for putting an end to the commutes and time spent waiting in line where they hoped to meet their audience.

"The circumstances of launching during a pandemic is something we could have never imagined but other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it. We were not able to do so," he and Whitman wrote.

Another disadvantage was the astronomical production costs for creating the content, were reported to be up to $100,000 each minute. Quibi had signed on stars like Chrissy Teigen, Tyra Banks and Tom Cruise.

But with no hit show or catalog of familiar flicks, Quibi struggled. Plus, it arrived in the middle of the pandemic when mobile users were stuck at home, not waiting in lines or riding public transit.

Quibi attracted investment from some of Hollywood's biggest players including the Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.


Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

AmazeVR Wants You To Attend K-Pop Concerts Virtually
Photo courtesy of AmazeVR

Virtual reality startup AmazeVR now has $17 million to further expand its VR concert experience.

The West Hollywood-based company’s latest funding amounts to a bet that virtual shows, a staple of the pandemic, are here to stay. Mirae Asset Capital led the Series B funding round, with Mirae Asset Financial Group subsidiary (Mirae Asset Venture Investment), CJ Investment, Smilegate Investment, GS Futures and LG Technology Ventures investing again. Mobile game maker Krafton joined the group—but South Korean entertainment company CJ ENM’s stake reveals AmazeVR’s plans to expand into K-pop world.

Read moreShow less