After less than six months, Jeffrey Katzenberg is exploring a potential sale of Quibi, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the situation.
The short-form streaming service launched in April but has badly underperformed in gaining subscribers in the ultra-competitive streaming space. The WSJ report said Quibi is also considering other options, including another round of funding or going public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.
In a statement on the WSJ report, a company spokesperson said: “Quibi has successfully launched a new business and pioneered a new form of storytelling and state-of-the-art platform. Meg and Jeffrey are committed 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. We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”
Quibi debuted with nearly $2 billion in funding and a who’s who of stars connected to the service, including Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart and LeBron James. The service, led by Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman, netted its first two Emmy wins last week, but it’s struggled to gain a wide audience in its first six months. In June, Quibi was on pace to pull in 2 million subscribers by the end of the year — well below its own projection of 7.4 million subscribers. And in July, when the 90-day free trial Quibi had offered early users expired, most didn’t stick around to pay for their service. (Subscribers pay $4.99 per month for ad-supported streaming and $7.99 per month for ad-free streaming.)
TheWrap spoke with several early Quibi users a few months back to hear what they liked and didn’t like about the service. Some of those issues — including the inability to screenshot content and share it with friends — has since been resolved by Quibi. You can read the full story by clicking here.