Quibi, a mobile subscription platform for short videos launched six months ago by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman will be shut down. In a first interview to Deadline Katzenberg spoke of the difficult but clear-eyed decision they made to let go. The longtime friends decided to end their dream in a pragmatic decision to wind down as they drew on their collective experience and strengths. They also said that they weren’t pressurized by anyone.
Quibi, a much hyped App was an ambitious one with investments over $1.7 billion. It had many investors and top of the industry support including Sony Pictures, NBC Universal, Disney, MGM, Warner Media and Viacom CBS and WallStreet banks including JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. It was launched with much fanfare to deliver original short programs to smartphones on the go. However, the pandemic forced millions to stay home during lockdowns or on quarantine.
When asked if they pulled the plug because of the pandemic or because a standalone short-form streaming premium platform wouldn’t work Katzenberg said, “I think Meg and I are agreed that it’s probably a mix of those two things, it’s some of each. We are not solely a victim of COVID but for sure it had a pretty extreme impact on how we conceived and launched the business.”