Quibi’s stock: Are they trying to salvage the company by selling?
Is Quibi the little streaming service that couldn’t – or could?. After it launched on April 6th, Quibi has certainly failed to find its audience. According to a spokesperson, in its first three months Quibi was downloaded 4.5 million times & had 1.6 million subscribers: a slow start compared to HBO Max’s 26.5 million subscribers in the first three months after its release at the end of May.
Quibi is not a complete failure, but is still struggling to keep up with other major streaming services like HBO Max, Disney+, and Netflix. Creators Jeffrey Katzenberg & Meg Whitman poured in $2 billion into streaming service to get big names like Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth, and Anna Kendrick on original programming.
After six months, Katzenberg & Whitman are exploring options for Quibi’s financial future, considering options like raising more runway or selling to a special-purpose acquisitions company: “essentially a blank-check company that helps fund deals”, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Quibi declined to comment on its financial review, but a statement released by the company shared Katzenberg & Whitman’s commitment 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.”
However, Quibi is not in immediate danger of shutting down. According to a source within the company, they’re still sitting on about $1.75 billion to survive several months even though the company missed its paid subscriber goal by a large margin.
Format innovation fail
Quibi’s shows are famously expensive: it’s estimated Quibi pays its A-list celebrities upwards of $100,000 per minute of content. #FreeRayshawn has a $15-million budget for a fifteen-episode season. And the show’s total runtime is a mere 150 minutes: five hours shy of a traditional fifteen-episode season.
Each show on Quibi is told through “chapters”, running only five to ten minutes each. Because of these concise runtimes, Quibi advertised itself as offering subscribers short-form shows perfect for those on the go. But due to 2020’s infamous worldwide lockdowns, Quibi’s approach fell flat. Katzenberg recognizes this factor seriously hurt Quibi’s launch numbers.
Quibi was able to pick up ten short-form Emmy nominations and won two of them for its show #FreeRayshawn. The show’s two leads Laurence Fishburne & Jasmine Cephas Jones won Best Actor & Best Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama.
It would have been an impressive win if one ignored the fact that all of Quibi’s entries fell in the short-form category, competing against one another. Quibi took four out of the five nominations in each acting category and two out of the five nominations for Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
Despite the awards show wins, things are not looking good for Quibi as yet. The streaming service received some buzz at the Emmys, but many doubt if they can spin the hype into paying customers.