Quibi’s shutdown shows just how hard it is to break into streaming right now

Molly Wood Oct 22, 2020
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

Quibi’s shutdown shows just how hard it is to break into streaming right now

Molly Wood Oct 22, 2020
Heard on:
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Quibi, the streaming service whose name stood for “quick bites,” is biting the dust after just six months in existence. Quibi created short shows meant to be watched on mobile phones.

It had a lot going for it: nearly $2 billion in funding, it was started by Hollywood legend Jeffrey Katzenberg and led by Meg Whitman of eBay and HP and it had A-list talent. But in the end, it’s a flameout.

The money was obviously there, the marketing was there, but it was terrible timing to launch a product that was meant to be mobile-only, mobile-first. During the pandemic, people simply aren’t commuting, going to the gym or watching content on their phones as they would be if they were legitimately on the go.

When you’re already facing a steep uphill climb in terms of competition and cost, you cannot afford any setbacks.

It also shows how hard it is to disrupt these big incumbents, even when you have a staggering amount of money, big-name talent, Hollywood power and tech expertise.

Then again, this is a week when even Netflix reported slower subscriber growth because there is so much competition out there. Quibi just kind of launched into a woodchipper.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.