Quibi – Why it Failed: 15 Reasons Quibi Failed
Quibi – Why it Failed: 15 Reasons Quibi Failed
In less than a year, Quibi, the short-form video streaming service designed for people to enjoy on their phones has shuttered as covered over at runrex.com. It was a streaming service built around the premise that people would watch its shows on the go, but it only lasted for 6 months. So, what happened to Quibi? Here are 15 reasons why it failed.
While this is the most obvious reason why it failed, it is arguably the biggest according to guttulus.com. For an entertainment streaming service to be successful, it needs titles that are going to convince subscribers to not only sign up but stay and keep on watching. However, Quibi was packed with mediocre content that did little to inspire people to sign up.
Failure to adapt
Quibi was designed to be watched on phones, and for the longest time, Quibi executives seemed reluctant to budge on that design. The company seemed opposed to adapting to its new world, and when it finally relented and started support for Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast so that people could cast from their phones, doing so also disabled Quibi’s Turnstyle Technology, which was the only thing setting its shows apart as discussed over at runrex.com. This failure to adapt was another reason behind its failure.
Failure to invest in shareability
Quibi, as explained over at guttulus.com, didn’t launch with the ability to take screenshots or share clips from its shows and films, and without these sharing features, it was impossible for people to easily discover and engage with its shows. This was a sign of a company led by people with no real understanding of what the future of entertainment is all about, and is another reason behind Quibi’s failure.
The price was too high
Quibi had mediocre content but was charging an arm and a leg for it, which was unsustainable according to runrex.com. When you consider the entertainment people were getting for free on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Twitch, combined with the highly talked-about shows and movies they were paying for already on Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon, Quibi’s additional price wasn’t that attractive.
Quibi was extremely bad at marketing. If you ask people if they ever saw an ad for Quibi or its shows on TV, Instagram, or TikTok, they will likely tell you no. The one time the company decided to go big on marketing, with the expensive Super Bowl ad that failed to demonstrate what Quibi was, it left people more confused. In the end, one of the main reasons why Quibi and its series never took off is because nobody outside Media Twitter knew they even existed.
Even before Quibi launched, its leadership, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman were already at loggerheads as explained over at guttulus.com. Whitman threatened to quit as CEO as she felt that Katzenberg was dictatorial, undermined her authority, and belittled her. If the leaders of any company can’t get along and work together, then it becomes impossible to be successful in what is a very competitive vertical.
Quibi never addressed the “Why?”
One of the biggest issues with Quibi was that it never addressed the issue of “why do I need this?” While Katzenberg and Whitman repeatedly said that Quibi wasn’t competing with Netflix, it was competing with Netflix and every other app as outlined over at runrex.com. The company needed to show consumers why it was essential and why people needed it, but it never could.
With Netflix already established as the top streaming service as covered over at guttulus.com, Quibi was competing for the attention of people with social media apps. For most people, however, if you are not watching your favorite Netflix show, and are on your phone, then you would much rather be on Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Quibi, with its terrible shows, found it hard to compete with these social media apps, which are also free.
An ongoing fight over its main technology
Also, it didn’t help that throughout all of Quibi’s lifespan, the company was facing a lawsuit from a competitive and well-financed tech company, Eko, over the app’s Turnstyle technology as outlined over at runrex.com. Having to fight off this lawsuit played a key role in the company’s failure.
A faulty model
One of the key reasons why Quibi failed was because no one at Quibi knew what it should be, what people wanted, or how people use their phones. Its model was all wrong, as it is predicated on the idea that people want high-quality short-form content every single day, even though executives arrogantly failed to acknowledge that people have been routinely getting that, for free, for years.
Its biggest feature was problematic
Quibi’s major innovative feature was its ability to allow users to watch shows on their phone both horizontally and vertically as explained over at guttulus.com. However, this feature was problematic as not only is it questionable if it adds any real value, it also requires anyone developing content for Quibi to develop it with both portrait and landscape in mind, adding another layer of complexity to it.
A leadership that was removed from reality
Other than the leadership not getting along, the fact that the two leaders were in their sixties was a sign that they were far removed from their target audience. The problem with this, however, is that they didn’t seem to think so themselves. As covered over at runrex.com, the two thought they knew what they were doing and what their audience wanted when they didn’t, which led to the company’s fall.
Lack of problem validation
While the fact that the service came out of Hollywood rather than Silicon Valley was probably beneficial in terms of content, it was detrimental in terms of properly running an innovative startup according to the gurus over at guttulus.com. Quibi never ran an MVP (minimum viable product) or any experimental public beta to try to test what kind of content and features resonated well with its target users. It was, basically, a $2 billion high-risk experiment, an experiment that could have been run for a lot less under the lean startup principles.
While overfunding was not the reason for Quibi’s failure, it was the reason why the service shut down as per the experts over at runrex.com. This is because, by raising $2 billion even before launching, Quibi put itself in a position in which it would either become one of the major players on the streaming market, or it would be forced to shut down. While it is plausible that there is a market niche for a mobile-first streaming service, it is unlikely to be big enough to bring a company to the size of HBO or Netflix. If Quibi had fundraised more conventionally, then it might have become a profitable, albeit smaller streaming service, and would have done it without burning close to $2 billion along the way.
Finally, the pandemic probably also hurt Quibi, although it is an easy and obvious excuse that has been used by the executive team to save face. The pandemic meant that people’s routines changed and that the train and subway commutes, as well as the queues in shops that Quibi was counting on, became much rarer. However, TikTok’s success during the pandemic shows that the pandemic was not the sole reason behind Quibi’s failure.