After six months on the market, the new-age streaming service announced on October 21, 2020, that it has called it quits. And if the reports floating around the internet are accurate, it’s easy to see why.
CNBC reports that the streaming startup, founded by Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenburg and former Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, raised nearly $2 billion in capital prior to its launch in April.
It doesn’t take a math wizard to know that’s a lot of cash burned in a short period of time.
In this article, I’ll take a look at what Quibi was trying to be, attempt to pinpoint where it all went wrong and help Quibi lovers find some potential alternatives for their streaming needs.
What Was Quibi?
Quibi, short for “Quick Bites,” was trying to be the first mobile-only streaming concept that produced original content. It was geared toward optimizing the experience of viewing on your phone.
That meant short, easily-digestible news and entertainment content created in a way that you watch comfortably from either portrait or landscape mode on your phone — perhaps during your morning commute or in the waiting room at your dentist’s office.
None of Quibi’s episodes lasted more than 10 minutes. It featured content from big-name stars including Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth, Reese Witherspoon, Chance the Rapper and Chrissy Teigen.
Quibi gave customers a two-week free-trial period and then charged a monthly subscription of $4.99 (with ads) or $7.99 (without ads).
When the service went live in April, I downloaded the app, watched several hours of content and produced a Team Clark review for the service.
For the time being, we’ll keep that story live so that you can get a deeper understanding of what Quibi was trying to offer consumers.
Why Quibi Likely Failed
In their farewell note to subscribers, Quibi leaders Katzenberg and Whitman spoke to potential reasons for their product’s quick demise:
“…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.
“Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two. 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.”
I agree with their assessment. The idea may have been passable under normal day-to-day living conditions for Americans, but the coronavirus pandemic did this startup no favors.
After the free trial period, I never once considered paying for Quibi despite the almost daily marketing emails I got from the service.
The content wasn’t terrible, but I just didn’t find it better than what I already get through my streaming subscriptions for longer-form content.
What You Should Watch Instead of Quibi
If you were a loyal Quibi subscriber, you can at least take credit for doing what others would not do (i.e., pay money) to keep this idea alive.
Your prize for that loyalty to the concept is the task of finding a new streaming service that will fit your mobile-first philosophy.
While there’s no service that is exclusively making short-form, phone-only content out there to take Quibi’s place, there are plenty of streaming content options in the marketplace.
Team Clark has assessed some of the top video streaming services here (with individual reviews on each available), and we also have a guide for free streaming content (many of those are also available on your phone).
You’ll likely want to assess what type of content you consumed on Quibi and see which streaming service lines up with it best.
For example, Disney+ is popular with families because it has an extensive collection of cartoons and kid-friendly movies. But it also has Star Wars and Marvel to entertain the adults. Netflix and Hulu are streaming staples due to their deep content libraries and their original content.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect to pay for some of the subscription alternatives:
Video Streaming Services: Basic-Level Pricing
|Streaming Service||Basic Price|
|Amazon Prime Video||$8.99|
|CBS All Access||$5.99|
|AT&T’s HBO Max||$14.99|
While this is unfortunate news for Quibi and its fans, it’s a stark reminder that not every streaming service will be a success.
While the concept of short-burst content created specifically for cell phone consumption must have seemed like a great idea on paper, it appears that the public was not yet ready to pay for a phone-only experience. The coronavirus pandemic likely played a factor in this, as the content was created for “on-the-go” consumption. And there hasn’t been a whole lot of that in 2020.
But don’t fret. The streaming market is still a consumer-friendly environment filled with competitively-priced alternatives. Quibi users should be able to use free trials of many of the mobile-friendly streaming services available to find a suitable long-term replacement.