Quibi blames timing and pandemic for its failure, Netflix subscribers fall short of projections

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Jeffrey Katzenberg (left) and Meg Whitman (right) launched Quibi in April, but the company has experienced public troubles since then. Photo by Fortune Brainstorm TECH.

Just six months after its initial launch with $1.75 billion in investments, Quibi has announced it will shut down by the end of the year.

The company aimed to fill a niche in the entertainment industry for short-form content aimed at on-the-go millennials. However, Quibi failed to build a core audience in the coveted demographic of 25 to 34 year olds, and 90% of users left the service after the free trial ended.

In an open letter the day of the announcement, Quibi co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman volunteered two explanations for why the service failed. “The idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing,” they wrote. Many in Hollywood quickly opined that the idea was to blame.

The news comes as Netflix, Quibi’s most successful competitor, revealed disappointing subscriber numbers to investors. The company added 2.2 million subscribers, just short of its own projections of 2.5 million. Analysts had projected that the streaming giant would gain at least 3.5 million new subscribers.

Meanwhile at HBO Max, Channing Dungey moved from Netflix to work at Warner Television, replacing Peter Roth, who brought in hits like “Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men.” Dungey is expected to revitalize Warner’s television division and provide the company with streaming-era hits on HBO Max.

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