Startup Streamer Quibi Quits
A huge Hollywood experiment ended its life in a way that seems somehow fitting qube accompany designed to bring miniature Netflix's quality shows to your smartphone call. It quits earlier this month like it's programs which were no longer than ten minutes apiece. quickies vary life was itself short only about six months long the infant media company hit attracted almost two billion dollars from investors about one hundred, fifty, million dollars in advertising and some big name actors and directors. As a result quibbles dramatic closure has spawned no end of speculative criticism about what the startup did wrong and whether it's leaders Hollywood powerhouse, Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP. CEO Meg Whitman did anything right? In case you haven't heard of it. The original idea behind Qube was to make high quality programs that were short enough to watch from start to finish. While waiting to do something else say riding the subway were standing at checkout line. These wouldn't be user generated youtube like videos but what qube envisioned as the quote next generation of storytelling dramas comedies a non-fiction programs cut into quick bites the origin of the company's name you get the idea. QUBE had the bad luck to launch during the pandemic that meant the service designed explicitly for people out and about debuted when people were in definitely not out and about position as another streamer. But Not at first on your TV quickly did what most streamers and new apps do when it launched in early April it offered a ninety day free trial about a million and a half people signed up and presumably began watching quickies original shows thrillers like. Wireless about a drunk man caught in a New Year's Eve snowstorm free Ray Sean drama about a black man accused of killing a police officer and last looks a series about scandals in the fashion world. As I said earlier at launch, you can only watch on a smartphone despite the fact that most viewers were quarantined in their homes with perfectly usable TV's at their disposal. It took a few more months for quick to make the TV leap. The question back in May and June was how many of those initial free viewers would convert to paying customers quickies price was high five month with ads were eight dollars without them as the verge points out apple TV plus costs four, ninety, nine a month worse quickies higher prices more expensive than Disney plus. The answer on those conversions was clear. Qube didn't get anywhere near enough money or viewers, and with that dearth viewers, some advertisers threatened to canceled on October Twenty Second Katzenberg Whitman published an open letter on medium announcing queries collapse. The founders laid some of the blame on Covid nineteen but not all in addition to timing they said, another likely reason could be. That the idea itself wasn't strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service. Indeed. A great deal of the criticism says exactly that the format itself was flawed from the start ten minutes may have been far too long for some content and far too short for others. A sort of nether world that works for user generated youtube content, but not for expensive productions that aspire to be the next Netflix. As one example, the Guardian reporter. Jack Bernhardt commended free ratio on actors Steffan Jones Laurence Fishburne an emmy winner. Jasmine Safest Jones for spectacular performances in powerful production. But he added quote it feels almost offensive to everyone involved that I can only watch it on tiny phone screen. Furthermore, he said it should have been a two hour film not fifteen quick bites. The company is exploring selling the rights to some content screenwriters and producers with shows underdevelopment or left to try to sell them elsewhere a tough sell given that most media companies can't use five or ten minute episodes. is returning about three hundred, fifty million dollars to investors and giving severance to two hundred employees. The Wall Street Journal reports, Katzenberg and Whitman's letter puts quickies. Of the entire very busy streaming media ecosystem the executives would never have imagined launching during a pandemic they said, but they admitted other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it. Indeed, we've reported here on boom times for Netflix's and Disney plus among others all of benefited enormously from lockdowns. The mistake Qube made lies in a different sphere altogether says verge critic Julia Alexander Qube didn't fail because TIKTOK. existed she says, it failed because executives refuse to see Tiktok its biggest competition she wrote tick tock has exploded globally with an ever growing mountain of user generated short form video video that is virtually free to produce free to consume. But qube had its I trained on net flicks if Alexander is correct quimby was looking for threats or a role model in the wrong direction. In an already struggling Hollywood, it's hard to watch the layoffs of employees and the suffering of artists who shows are now killed. A great deal of talent converged around quipping remains to be seen. We're all that talent. Finding out.