Quibi is reportedly in talks to sell its catalog to Roku Inc., creator of the digital media player Roku, following its shutdown in December.
TheWall Street Journal reported Sunday (Jan. 3) that, under the terms of the deal, Roku would acquire the rights to the shuttered short-form streamer’s library — which includes unscripted series such as Chrissy’s Court, Dishmantled and Thanks A Million (pictured) — for its free, ad-supported streamer Roku Channel.
Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman confirmed in October via an open letter to staff that the startup, faced with underwhelming viewership and downloads, would be winding down its operations after failing to find a buyer.
Quibi had reportedly pitched a sale to Comcast’s NBCUniversal, but the company was wary of the fact that Quibi doesn’t own many of the shows on its platform, according to the WSJ. The Information reported that Quibi had also tried to sell its programming to Facebook, which also reportedly passed.
The short-form, mobile-first streamer had fallen short of expectations since it launched April 6 with nearly US$1.8 billion in investor injections. Designed to offer “quick bites” of content for on-the-go audiences, Quibi was dealt a blow when the COVID-19 pandemic sent much of the world into lockdown.
Despite a 90-day free trial, the app saw just 1.7 million downloads in its first week.
And while its content attracted some buzz, the service failed to pull in the subscribers and viewership needed to stay afloat among heavy-hitting streamers such as Netflix and Disney+ – and the free short-form content offered on platforms such as YouTube.
Realscreen reached out to Roku and Quibi, and both declined comment on the WSJ report.