Quibi Reportedly Fails to Sell Assets to Apple, WarnerMedia, and Facebook

Quibi is having a hard time finding a buyer as Apple, WarnerMedia, and Facebook turned down their offers. Jefferey Katzenberg has been trying to navigate the streaming platform through the uncertain waters of 2020. In a new report from The Information, Quibi looked to some heavy-hitters in tech to stabilize their app after a tumultuous start. It bears repeating that the executive has blamed the lackluster beginning of Quibi’s tenure on the pandemic. Katzenberg cited the coronavirus situation as the app’s main source of turmoil despite most of their competitors listing this year as a moment of growth for them. Even with that aside, there is still the matter of the format and who exactly was looking for bite-sized video content that told longer narrative stories. In effect, trying to adapt Snapchat Stories and similar innovations might have been a miscalculation, even for populations that spend an increasing amount of time on their phones.

The Information reported, “Over the past few weeks, Katzenberg has pitched several tech and entertainment executives about buying Quibi, only to be turned down. Among those he approached was Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of internet software and services, and WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, according to people familiar with the situation. He and his partner in Quibi, former HP CEO Meg Whitman, also made formal presentations to executives at other tech companies, including Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook app, only to get rejected there as well, the people said.”

Comicbook.com’s Russ Burlingame talked about how upbeat the executive was about the platform working out during the summer.

“Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Disney and DreamWorks executive whose new streaming app Quibi has quickly become a punchline, still has faith in his ability to turn things around. In spite of the criticisms the app has faced and low engagement with audiences, Katzenberg says he still believes that the biggest problem confronting Quibi is that it debuted during the novel coronavirus pandemic,” he began. “Katzenberg characterizes Quibi -- with short-form videos like YouTube but big-name stars to anchor them -- as an app for people on the go, and says that when people weren't on the go anymore because of lockdown, it hurt the launch.”

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Burlingame continued, “That logic has been questioned by audiences and critics, since virtually every other streaming platform has enjoyed greater success during the lockdown, since audiences are more or less captive and there's no movie theaters. Katzenberg, though, argues that because of the short-form nature of Quibi, they are looking for audiences who are waiting at the doctor's office or sitting in their car.”

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