The good news: Quibi can now be streamed on the connected-device platforms Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Google TV/Android TV.
The not-so-good news: The expanded access may come too late for the struggling service launched six months ago by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, with $1.75 billion in backing from the likes of The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia.
Katzenberg recently tried, unsuccessfully, to sell Quibi’s catalog of programming to companies including NBCU and Facebook, and has told people in the industry that he may have to shut down the company, according to a new report by The Information. Sources also said that Quibi employees have reported the cancellation of “important strategy meetings.”
Quibi has not commented on the report.
With Quibi missing subscriber targets and facing hurdles on the advertising front, Katzenberg has been seeking a buyer for Quibi for at least a few weeks, according to previous reports. A Bloomberg analysis recently noted that “in one scenario, if little changes, the company faces a funding shortfall of about $1.8 billion by 2024 and $6 billion by 2030.”
Quibi launched as mobile-only but, faced with pandemic stay-at-home mode, soon adapted to enable users to watch on their TVs via Apple AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast.
The company has been in talks for months to secure integration on major CTV platforms, although Roku has apparently remained elusive.
Yet, the streaming service opted to announce the good news quietly, through an update on its customer support site. “Love our mobile app? Great news! We’ve taken all the awesome Quibi content and made it available on your TV,” reads the message.
All Quibi viewing on TVs is in standard horizontal mode, as opposed to the adjustable horizontal/vertical mode enabled by its Turnstyle feature on mobile devices.
In the U.S., Quibi charges $4.99 per month for its ad-supported version and $7.99 for its ad-free version. But many of its initial subscribers were generated through free-trial offers, and it’s not clear how many of those will choose to begin paying at the end of the trials. In addition, T-mobile is giving a free, one-year Quibi subscription to customers on its unlimited wireless family plans.
The company has spent at least $58.5 million in national TV advertising to promote Quibi subscriptions since its launch, according to iSpot.tv.