Quibi's Dead. How Did $1.75B Turn into a Black Screen?

Quibi header
Get your shovels. Quibi is officially dead. 

As of Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Quibi app is no longer operable. The screen is black, the shows are gone, and so is the $1.75 billion that it took to get the application up and running. Of course, given the nature of Quibi, you still have to delete the app to get it off your phone. 

What made Quibi fail? 

We don't have one solid answer, mostly because there seem to be hundreds. From early goofs like not letting people screenshot their favorite shows to the pandemic eliminating places for people to watch quick bites, to not having any option to watching longer form shows as a whole, instead of in pieces, Quibi seemed to make every mistake possible. 

As of the third quarter of 2020, Quibi had 710,000 subscribers, down from 1.1 million the prior quarter. That steady decline showed a large number of users not interested in quick bites on an app they can't use on the big screen. 

This drastic miscalculation of the market was the company's downfall. 

The company reportedly told investors including Disney, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, and ViacomCBS that it would return $350 million of its cash on hand to them, and is using another firm to sell off any of their other assets. Oh, and that includes an on-going lawsuit with EKO, who are still trying to get $100 million out of them in a dispute over their platform. 

One of its projects, #FreeRayshawn, won a pair of acting Emmys in September, but that was about the only highlight for them this year. 

There were lots of reasons to be excited about the team assembled for Quibi, but in such a fast-moving market, Quibi was doomed out of the gate.

They debuted without any noisy shows or a way to share what you liked. People were not talking about the content, they were talking about the problems and the interview faux-pas and how bad the interface looked. 

My heart breaks for everyone who got their content on the app. I hate knowing someone's art has disappeared forever. Hopefully, places like YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix cannibalize some of Quibi's content so it has somewhere to call home. 

No word on that yet. For now, it's just a black screen and the thoughts of what might have been. 

Did you use Quibi? Will you mourn its passing? Let us know what you think in the comments.      

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The media had reported early this year that Quibi had a special agreement with the producers of each show that the rights return to them after 7 years. This might be a problem for streamers buying something that won't own forever (unless they pen new agreements).

December 1, 2020 at 7:21PM

Eugenia Loli
Filmmaker, illustrator, collage artist

“Quibi's Dead. How Did $1.75B Turn into a Black Screen?“

The blunt answer... Because it was a dumb idea. I want longer episodes and more in-depth content and I think a lot of others feel the same way. People regularly watch three, four, five hours or more continuously of a single program now, because of our ability to binge a program and all it’s episodes from the streamers. They don’t want a two minute(being slightly facetious) TV show. They want to watch HOURS of it.

December 1, 2020 at 10:05PM


I didn't mind the short episodes, and I know their was a lot of red tape behind the scenes, but now allowing you to connect your tv was one of its several nails in the coffin. The shows were fresh, and different, I just don't wanna stare at phone all day.

December 4, 2020 at 10:03AM

Ron Johnson