September 21, 2020
Quibi, the mobile-centric subscription streaming service launched in April by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, is reportedly looking to go on the sale block or seek acquisition with a private equity group.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported Katzenberg, who co-founded and sold DreamWorks Animation, and Whitman, former CEO of eBay, are exploring all options after the service failed to meet subscriber and advertising goals.
Publicly, the two executives say they remain confident in the platform and a “new form” of storytelling.
Indeed, the $4.99 monthly service with ads ($7.99 without ads), backed by $1.75 billion in venture funding, launched with a series of original short-form videos, including Emmy-winning “#FreeRayshawn,” a drama about a black Iraq War veteran (Stephan James) who finds himself the target of a SWAT team for a crime he didn’t commit.
Yet, data firm Sensor Tower has suggested the service will generate less than 2 million subcribers by the end of the year — a fraction of the company’s 7.4 million year-end goal.
“We are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees,” Katzenberg and Whitman said in a joint statement.