What is Quibi? Streaming service shuts down after 6 months

The newest streaming service to enter the market has just been shut down – here's everything you need to know.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JANUARY 08: Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg speaks on stage at CES at the Park Theater in Park MGM on January 08, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Quibi)

Mobile-focused platform Quibi has announced it is closing and will be selling its content, just six months after arriving on the streaming scene.

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The video app, which provided “quick bites” of content for subscribers, said that launching the service during the COVID-19 pandemic had brought “unprecedented challenges” and that it will be winding down the business as a result.

But what is Quibi? And which titles was it home to?

Here’s everything you need to know about Quibi, which was launched by former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and why it is closing down.

What is Quibi? And what does Quibi mean?

Quibi, short for ‘Quick Bites’ was a premium streaming service – exclusively for mobile devices.

The platform targeted people on the go, wherever they may be. As such, all programmes lasted between four and 10 minutes and consisted of feature-length stories spread across many bite-sized episodes.

Quibi was looking to stream a more interactive viewing experience, comparable to when Netflix released their own interactive Black Mirror episode, Bandersnatch.

All content was downloadable, so there was no need for a Wi-Fi connection or data coverage to view.

US viewers could subscribe under two pricing tiers: $4.99/month (approx. £4/AU$7) with ads and $7.99/month (£6/AU$12) for an ad-free service.

Why is Quibi shutting down?

In an open letter to employees, investors and partners, Quibi’s founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman wrote that they would be closing the app “with an incredibly heavy heart” after launching during a pandemic resulted in the business facing “unprecedented challenges”.

“Quibi is not succeeding,” they wrote. “Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”

They added that, as entrepreneurs, their instinct is “to always pivot, to leave no stone unturned” but they felt as though they’d “exhausted all [their] options”.

“Over the coming months we will be working hard to find buyers for these valuable assets who can leverage them to their full potential,” they added.

Was Quibi available in the UK?

Quibi arrived in the US on April 6th 2020, but never launched in the UK.

Quibi shows

Quibi had plans to release a massive 175 original shows and 8,500 episodes in its first year, with viewers able to watch originals with household names such as Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper, Liam Hemsworth, Sophie Turner, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon and more from the app’s launch.

It was also announced that Quibi would become the home for content created by the likes of Hollywood royalty like Steven Spielberg and major forces in TV production like BBC Studios, the commercial arm of the BBC.

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Quibi divided programming into three categories: “Movies in Chapters”, feature-length films broken into episodes seven-10 minutes long; unscripted and documentary series; and Daily Essentials shows, five-six-minute quick bites of news, entertainment and lifestyle programming. Although Quibi offered a list of 51 launch titles, some of these are news programmes that broadcast various dayparts (like the four from NBC News).

If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.