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Quibi is shutting down

Quibi the shortform mobile-focused streaming service is shutting down after just over six months of operation, making it one of the shortest-lived streaming services to date, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There is any number of factors that can be pointed to in unpacking Quibi’s demise: the launch of a mobile-only streaming service at the height of a global pandemic when users were stuck at home; the lack of any real breakout content that was compelling enough to tempt subscribers; or the fact that shortform video content has a nearly infinite amount of free competition in the form of YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms.

It’s not clear what will happen to the company’s lineup of expensive, star-studded original shows and shortform films after the shutdown. Earlier reports indicated that co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg had courted Apple, WarnerMedia, and Facebook to try to acquire the beleaguered streaming company earlier this year. When those efforts failed, Katzenberg reportedly tried to get Facebook and NBCUniversal to at least pick up Quibi’s content, to no success.

Katzenberg and CEO Whitman are to have a call with investors this afternoon to explain their decision to wind down the short-form video service after little more than six months. They are exploring options including selling content or the entire service in the hopes that a buyer emerges.

The process of bringing Quibi to a close is expect to take several months we hear with subscribers receiving notifications in the near future. A staff meeting with Katzenberg and Whitman is also scheduled for later today.

Quibi launched on April 6th, 2020, just over six months ago, with two plans: $4.99 (with ads) or $7.99 (ad free). The company sought to distinguish itself by focusing exclusively on mobile devices at launch, complete with an innovative system where each show was filmed and edited in both portrait and landscape formats, allowing it to be viewed in any orientation on a smartphone. There was no free option, outside of a lengthy free trial, and no TV apps until just yesterday, when the company launched apps for the Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV.

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