Bite-Size Streaming Service Quibi To Close

Credit: Quibi

On-the-go streaming service Quibi (short for Quick Bites) has announced it will be ceasing operations on or around December 1st, The Guardian reports.

The bite-sized offerings on the mobile-based service, typically around 10 minutes in length, were intended for streaming at spare moments in busy lives. Sadly, since Quibi launched in April, for many, busy lives have not been quite as… well, busy.

The service was founded a couple of years ago by Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, with a raft of A-list backers from the world of finance and media providing around $1.75 billion.

The content was big-budget, high production-value movies and TV, in bite sized episodes. Steven Spielberg created content, and Reese Witherspoon was reported to have been paid $6m for voice over on six episodes of a nature series.

With season budgets hitting $15m, and the most expensive item costing $100,000 a minute, the platform was going to have to pull in some big subscriber numbers to make it work.

The platform launched to the public in April, with a high of more than 7 million subscribers. Numbers fell after the 90-day free trial, and by last week the figures were closer to 500,000, with a subscription of $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 without ads.

Although the bite-sized offerings might not have had the appeal during a global pandemic which saw many staying in their homes, some felt Quibi’s model was doomed from the start. Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester Research said the 5 or 10 minute episode format wasn’t what people wanted.

“People want the six-second dance moves on TikTok or an influencer video on YouTube or Instagram,” said Nail. “When they want highly involving, high-production content, they want it on their TV screen in 30-minute or longer chunks where they can lose themselves in the story and escape from the craziness that is 2020.”

Carolyn Hucker