THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Freshman streaming platform Quibi is shutting down after only six months in business despite an ambitious launch featuring many celebrities. Quibi sought to revolutionize the way people consume media in the streaming era by offering star-studded five to 10 minute segments called chapters, but struggled to find customers for a streaming platform designed to be used on the go. In an open letter to investors, Quibi executives stated the platform was not succeeding. “Our failure was not for lack of trying,” top executives said. “We’ve considered and exhausted every option available to us.”
Quibi will be returning about 20% of funds raised back to investors, amounting to $350 million of the original $1.75 billion that Quibi raised before launch. Many prominent and experienced investors saw promise in the mobile-focused streaming platform, including Alibaba Group, JPMorgan Chase and The Walt Disney Co.
Anis Uzzaman, Pegasus Tech Ventures CEO and a heavy investor in Quibi, told Business Insider that he was disappointed in the effort put forth by Quibi executives. “I would’ve wanted them to fight more rather than giving up so quickly,” Uzzaman said. “Or if they were going to give up so quickly, then I would’ve wanted to give up with more money in the bank.”
Executives attributed Quibi’s demise to coronavirus. The pandemic struck just weeks after Quibi’s launch, which made an app designed to be enjoyed by people on the go virtually obsolete while stay-at-home orders were in effect. Meanwhile, streaming services like Netflix benefited from millions of people being stuck at home. Many critics felt that Quibi’s price of $4.99 per month with ads and $7.99 without was too expensive, and marketers didn’t properly explain the product to users while also failing to design easily-shareable content.
Ultimately, Quibi Was the Quickest Bite of All – The Ringer – 10/22/2020
In the end, the flashy disaster Quibi—the supposedly-smart-money-backed smartphone app that sought to hook viewers on its minutes-long namesake “quick bites” of indulgently produced, Hollywood-grade video content but soon soured into a nearly $2 billion symbol of out-of-touch and/or unlucky industry excess, depending on whom you ask—died as it lived: with a tweet that I initially mistook for a joke.
Quibi’s crash and burn is a warning to the crowded streaming space – CNN – 10/22/2020
Quibi also had the distinct disadvantage of arriving months after competitors like the one from Katzenberg’s old studio, Disney, and Apple TV+, while vying for attention with HBO Max (from CNN parent WarnerMedia) and Comcast’s Peacock — two ventures that, notably, rely on the deep bench provided by library product as well as the appeal of new shows. Soon enough, Quibi was reduced to a punchline, which is never really the kind of publicity you want for this sort of fledgling venture.
HBO Max has 28.7 million subscribers, but not all of them are actually watching yet – The Verge – 10/22/2020
According to the earnings report, 28.7 million customers were eligible to get HBO Max at the end of the third quarter, but activations of HBO Max to date number 12.7 million, meaning about half of the existing HBO subscribers who could get HBO Max for free haven’t yet watched Max content (and may not be aware it’s available to them). And HBO Max still isn’t on major platforms like Roku, which likely has had an impact on subscriber growth.
Hulu becomes latest streaming service to drop Fox Sports North – Star Tribune – 10/22/2020
Hulu + Live TV announced in an email to subscribers Thursday that it is dropping regional sports networks from its channel lineup as of Friday. Locally, that means Minnesota subscribers will no longer have access to Fox Sports North and the bevy of programming on that channel. […] Why yes, that’s tremendous news! Thank you for keeping channels I already pay for while ditching the one I really want!
Sony confirms Disney Plus, Netflix, and Twitch will be on the PS5 at launch – The Verge – 10/22/2020 Sony confirmed in a blog post on Thursday that several popular streaming apps, including Apple TV Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock, Spotify, Twitch, and YouTube would be available when the PS5 launches on November 12th.
How Fandango Leaned Into Streaming When Pandemic Theater Closures Hammered Its Ticket Biz – Variety – 10/22/2020 Fandango’s movie-ticketing business will rebound, benefiting from pent-up demand. In the meantime, Fandango has shifted its focus to building up its home-entertainment streaming strategy. The big development here: its mid-pandemic closing of the deal to acquire Vudu, the digital movie and TV service, from Walmart in July.