Quibi, a short-form streaming video service, has struggled since its launch earlier this year and now the company may be looking to sell itself off.
According to the Wall Street Journal, management is exploring several strategic options, which may include a sale. Quibi is also reportedly looking at potentially raising more money or going public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company.
Quibi responded to the report and said that its launch has been successful.
"Meg and Jeffrey are committed to continuing to build the business in the way that gives the greatest experience for customers, greatest value for shareholders and greatest opportunity for employees. We do not comment on rumor or speculation," a Quibi spokesperson said in a statement.
In May, the New York Times reported that Quibi had been installed by 3.5 million customers and that the service only had 1.3 million active users. Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, who founded the company with CEO Meg Whitman, blamed Quibi’s slow start on the coronavirus pandemic and said the early engagement figures are “not close to what we wanted.”
Quibi was targeting about 7 million paid subscribers in the first year and wanted to hit 16 million by year three, according to the report.
As Quibi struggles to compete with streaming service peers like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video, there’s questions about what company might value Quibi enough to acquire it. According to the report, Quibi might measure interest from other media and tech companies like Disney, Comcast/NBCUniversal and AT&T/WarnerMedia, which are all Quibi investors. The report also suggested the Amazon and Google could be interested in Quibi.
Last month, Kantar said that 33% of Quibi subscribers plan to cancel in the next three months, based on data from 20,000 consumers and 2,500 new subscriber interviews.
Before its launch in early April, Quibi had raised $1.75 billion in funding and had booked $150 million in advertising deals.
The service debuted on April 6 with several original series and films, all delivered in 10-minute episodes. Quibi’s content is a mix of scripted, unscripted, documentaries along with daily news, sports and pop culture programs. The service costs $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without ads but it comes with a 14-day free trial. T-Mobile is also giving away a free year of Quibi to many of its wireless customers.