Quibi, we hardly knew ye. After much ballyhoo, a tremendous advertising campaign and an expensive programming buy, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s $2 billion bet on a mobile streaming service lasted… eight months.
Quibi never got to experience life outside of the COVID-19 pandemic. It just missed being a part of the world when Donald Trump wasn’t president. It couldn’t even make it to 2021. Plenty of ink has already been spilled (wait, that’s an outdated term only used by the demographic that thought Quibi was a good idea, so let’s try again) — many terabytes have been expended by countless outlets trying to dissect what happened with Quibi. But the answer was there from the beginning: Quibi was based on a consumer need that didn’t exist.
Audiences already have plenty to see and do — for free — on their mobile devices during those rare free moments when they partake in screen time (while commuting, in line at the grocery store, etc). And even during those times, they rarely have the ability to completely focus on deep, intense storytelling. They’re scrolling Twitter, watching a humorous TikTok or clicking on a YouTube link.
What they’re not doing is paying for that content. The idea that they have the need for more mobile fare, and that they’d pay for it… was always questionable.
But Quibi is far from the only TV programmer to hit a road block over the years. The TV graveyard is filled with networks that just didn’t pan out. In the early days of cable, there was a limitation to the number of available slots for channels, leaving many without the opportunity to grow. In the last decade, attempts to program to young audiences — who have already mostly left linear TV — fell short. Most recently, not every streaming service has the heft to survive, as Seeso — and now Quibi — have discovered.
Here’s our roundup of another unlucky 13 networks that, like Quibi, had a short life.