The unhappy story of Jeffery Katzenberg's firm that failed in simply 6 months


25, 2020

5 min read

This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.

You might not even have heard of this company, but it was one of the biggest failures of the year, and considering it's 2020, that says a lot. A few weeks ago was its co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg No more and no less than one of the directors in charge of the Dreamworks animation studios announced the closure of the company less than a year after it was founded.

Quibi was born as Katzenberg and Meg Whitman , Quibi CEO and former Hewlett Packard The CEO raised more than $ 1.75 billion to create a video streaming service platform that includes original content and that you can subscribe to for $ 4.99 per month (about 100 Mexican pesos at the current exchange rate ).

Like Netflix, Dinsey + and Amazon Prime Video, Quibi also produced its own content, but the difference was that it was episodes of five to ten minutes to be consumed on smartphones. Originally, iOS and Android mobile devices were used, but later expanded to include Chromecast and AirPlay.

In this way, Quibi wanted to be the platform for the "next generation of storytelling". It had everything it needed to be successful: a leadership team with entertainment experience (Katzenberg was at the top again), nearly $ 2 billion in funding, dozens of renowned Hollywood actors on board, and an unmatched spread of mobile device usage. .

So what went wrong?

In a word: timing.

Unfortunately, Quibi came at a time when people had to stay home longer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main idea behind Quibi was that people could use the platform to watch short episodes while doing activities like public transportation, eating at the office, waiting for a doctor's appointment, etc. That is, for all activities that were stopped the restrictions caused by the coronavirus.

In other words, Quibi was targeting students and young professionals whose needs changed from one day to the next. In the quarantines, people preferred to watch long-term content on platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, and Hulu.

On October 22nd, Katzenberg officially announced the closure of the platform. The Wall Street Journal found that the main cause of this bug was that Quibi had a smaller than expected audience and a disappointing number of downloads.

However, the company also made a number of mistakes. For example, CNBC News noted that Quibi's social media strategy was pretty weak, which was unforgivable for a platform that had a mobile approach and was geared towards Gen Z.

Quibi, on the other hand, entered an incredibly saturated market for streaming content and its only differentiator, its high quality short clips, lost its value due to the products offered by other platforms and social networks like TikTok.

Image: SOPA Images | Getty Images

Additionally, the business model relied heavily on paid users who would join the platform after the 90-day free trial. However, only 10% of all users have paid the monthly payment. In this way, of the 7 million premium users they had projected, Quibi closed its doors with just two million subscribers.

And finally, Quibi decided to put its initial budget into a large launch campaign that included a very expensive commercial in the Super Bowl (above) rather than a long-term strategy of attracting new customers.

Unfortunately, Quibi arrived at the worst possible time. The coronavirus pandemic caused people who were consuming content on their phones while on the move (on the subway, waiting for morning coffee, etc.) to stay at home and take the opportunity to watch series and movies on their televisions and laptops.

In the end, perhaps the most interesting story Quibi generated was that of his own failure.