CEO Meg Whitman addresses members of the media during the Quibi Keynote at the 2020 International CES, at the Park MGM Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 8, 2020. Photo by James Atoa/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Quibi, the short-form entertainment content streaming service, announced Wednesday it was shutting down some six months after it launched.
Founders film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, announced in a statement the streaming service would start "winding down," saying they were looking to sell its content and technology assets.
The service streamed content a maximum length of 10 minutes it called "quick bites" and launched in April after raising more than $1.5 billion that allowed it to lure top talent to its service, such as Chrissy Teigen, Anna Kendrick, Sam Raimi, Idris Elba, Jennifer Lopez and Steph Curry.
"We opened the door to the most creative and imaginative minds in Hollywood to innovate from script to screen and the result was content that exceeded our expectations," they wrote. "We challenged engineers to build a mobile platform that enabled a new form of storytelling -- and they delivered a groundbreaking and delightful service."
The idea was to create a subscription-based mobile-first platform targeting young adults costing between $5 and $7 a month.
Katzenberg and Whitman said it failed in part because it launched amid the coronavirus pandemic, which forced people to stay home and in less need of using their phones to stream short yet polished content while on the go. In part it may have failed because the idea wasn't strong enough, they said.
"Quibi was a big idea and there was no one who wanted to make a success of it more than we did," they wrote. "Our failure was not for lack of trying; we've considered and exhausted every option available to us."
The remaining funds will be returned to shareholders, they said while apologizing in the open letter for "disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down."