Connolly’s exit comes eight months ahead of Quibi’s planned April 2020 debut. A Quibi rep declined to comment on his departure, which was first reported by Business Insider.
At Quibi, Connolly had been in charge of business relationships with all partners including subscriber-acquisition partners (such app stores, mobile operators and music services); advertisers and agencies; tech partners; and promotional partners.
Connollly’s position was eliminated, and Quibi does not plan to hire a replacement, according to a source familiar with the situation. The company’s ad-sales group is led by head of advertising partnerships Nicole McCormack, who will now report directly to CEO Meg Whitman; McCormack joined Quibi earlier this year from Flipboard, where she most recently was SVP of revenue strategy and operations. The source said the partnerships team currently in place, which reports up to McCormack, will continue to deal with distribution and promotional partners. Quibi for months has been trying to secure an exclusive distribution deal with a U.S. wireless provider.
Before Quibi, Connolly was senior VP and head of partnerships and distribution at Hulu. He left that post in the summer of 2018 as part of a reorg at the streamer. Prior to joining Hulu in 2014, he worked at Disney heading up digital distribution initiatives for TV.
In addition to Whitman, former CEO of HP and eBay, other senior Quibi hires include Diane Nelson, former president of DC Entertainment, as head of content operations; Tom Conrad, previously with Snap and Pandora, as chief product officer; and ex-CAA agent Jim Toth as head of content acquisitions and talent.
Quibi has set April 6, 2020, as the launch date for its mobile video service stocked with shows in sub-10-minute episodes, targeting around 7,000 episodes in the first year. Quibi currently plans to charge $5 monthly for a plan with ads and $8 for an ad-free tier.
The company has raised $1 billion from investors including Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, and Katzenberg’s WndrCo holding company. Whitman told Variety earlier this year that the company is seeking to raise an additional $500 million to take Quibi to a breakeven. The startup’s budget for content in Year One of business is approximately $1.1 billion.
Quibi has announced projects from a raft of Hollywood A-listers, including Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua, Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi, Jason Blum, Steven Soderbergh, Catherine Hardwicke, Anna Kendrick, Doug Liman and Laurence Fishburne.