The fall of Quibi: It had $2 bn investment and huge stars, but 2 weeks after launch the streamer is struggling

The mobile streaming app, created by DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, seeks to provide its subscribers with short content which ideally caters to an individual's minimal attention span


                            The fall of Quibi: It had $2 bn investment and huge stars, but 2 weeks after launch the streamer is struggling
Jeffrey Katzenberg (Getty Images)

Quibi, which launched only a little over two weeks ago, has failed to live up to the hype it generated prior to its imminent release. The mobile streaming app, which debuted at the #4 spot earlier this month, has now slipped down to #57, effectively leaving Apple's Top 50 charts. 

Quibi came to prominence even before it had released for being a mobile-only streaming app and the first of its kind. A shortened term for 'quick bites', Quibi seeks to provide its subscribers with short-timed content, each episode of every show spanning 10 minutes which, according to the creators of the app ideally caters to an individual's minimal attention span. The mobile app was also for users on the go, the 10-minute content being a perfect visual accompaniment while commuting to work, or taking a break. 

But despite being backed by wealthy investors and content featuring an array of A-list celebrities, it seems that the app has thwarted the buzz that it had created surrounding its release. On April 18, the app which is the brainchild of DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, reportedly sat at No. 57, way below its web streaming competitors, Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus. 

So far, the app has brought in $2 billion investor money and boasted 1.7 million downloads in its first week alone. Big names like Steven Spielberg, Liam Hemsworth, Chrissy Teigen, and Sophie Turner have signed on for projects with the app. The app is still doing quite well on its Android platform. However, the dramatic decline on the Apple charts might point to an unsure future especially in terms of its investments.

A Conversation With Quibi's Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg And Quibi Creators Lena Waithe, Veena Sud, And Kaitlin Olson At Sundance 2020 (Getty Images)

Quibi's launch was perfectly timed, what with people who are bored being stuck in quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic. But since the app was designed with viewers on-the-go in mind, it seems to not have appealed to everyone at home that has access to its competitors on wider screens. Netflix, Disney Plus and other streaming platforms can be viewed on a television screen for a more wholesome viewing experience, while Quibi which basically retails at a similar subscription price to its rivals is only restricted to a mobile screen, much smaller in comparison.

Many viewers have been disappointed by this and taken to Twitter to express their frustration. "How dumb that @Quibi won’t let you mirror or project their shows on your chrome cast or Apple TV. Really, really stupid thing to have your engineers code," a user said.

"Tried Quibi out. It really is a deal-breaker that you can't watch its content on a TV or PC. If they had focused on that capability first, the marketing campaign might have taken a completely different direction." added another.

Quibi features a total of 51 shows that have been broken down into three categories as of now but plans to release at least 175 shows in the next year. Currently, the platform is offering a 90-day free trial for users that subscribe before April 30. 

Katzenberg was inspired by YouTube and streaming video content's popularity and came up with the idea for Quibi. He chose the unique approach of reading a chapter from a novel, to designed and deliver short episodic content that could ensnare users. Meg Whitman, former boss at Hewlett Packard, serves as CEO of Quibi.

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