Why Did Quibi Fail?

Michelle Lawrence Picture

by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Nov 12, 2020

Here at Lumavate, we’re lovers of mobile. In fact, some might say we’re mobile obsessed. For years, we’ve been saying mobile is the future - and it still is, which is why Quibi’s demise took us for a bit of a loop. People love mobile...so what went wrong? And what could Quibi have done better? Let’s take a deep dive into what went wrong with the mobile-only streaming service. Can You Start From the Beginning? If I’m being completely honest, I hadn’t looked into its platform at all until I heard the news of it shutting down. Before we get into the fall of Quibi, here’s a SparkNotes version of the streaming service if you too are unfamiliar with the brand. Quibi debuted in early April 2020, which is in fact a lifetime ago. I honestly don’t think I could tell you one thing that I did in April, besides binge-watch Tiger King and make more banana bread than a person knows what to do with. Quibi positioned itself as the first mobile-only video streaming service hosting a wide variety of short-form content. Where Things Went South As a millennial, Quibi sounds right up my alley (especially this year). I’m stuck in the house, addicted to TikTok, and watched Netflix’s entire catalog. Quibi should have been the most exciting thing to enter my life this year. But as much as I am glued to my phone, adding a mobile-only streaming service to my growing list of entertainment subscriptions didn’t resonate with me for whatever reason. Perhaps it was due to the mobile-only portion of Quibi’s platform. I love my phone, but I don’t see myself ever giving up my TV. One of my favorite parts about watching a show on TV is I can use my smartphone as a second-screen and scroll mindlessly on social media. I think timing had a huge role in the demise as well. If we’re all stuck at home, why would I give up my 55-inch TV screen for a four and a half-inch screen? Perhaps if Quibi had launched in 2019 when traveling and working from an office were still happening then they may have seen a different ending. While we’re adding fuel to the fire, let’s talk about the subscription portion of Quibi. I don’t hide TikTok is one of my main forms of entertainment. The 30-second videos are perfect for my short-attention-span. But if TikTok wanted to charge users a subscription to use its platform, I would be the first one packing my bags, and taking my attention back to one of the three streaming services I already pay for. I believe consumers had a hard time getting their heads around ponying-up for another video streaming service. I conceded to joining HBO Max because of Friends, and I’m in the middle of an internal debate paying for Peacock to watch my beloved Parks and Rec that was so rudely removed from Netflix a few months back. Do I love Chrissy Tiegan? Yes. Would have I loved to watch Chrissy’s Court on Quibi? Absolutely. Could I justify adding another subscription to my monthly fees? Unfortunately, no. When you start to look at these reasons, I think you have your answer as to why Quibi didn’t make it past six months. Is All Hope lost for Mobile?  I predict Quibi won’t be the last mobile-only video streaming service. I think we can all agree 2020 was an anomaly. Our behavior is not normal and should not be considered in an accurate forecast of what future consumer preferences hold. Just because the world was not enticed by Quibi’s mobile-only streaming service in 2020, does not mean the concept holds zero potential in upcoming years. Who knows how long our world will look like this, but when things ‘go back to normal’, I’m sure future-Quibis will see better success with their version of a mobile-only streaming device. Because at the end of the day, more than 75 percent of videos are watched on mobile. Want to do mobile better than Quibi? We put together an entire guide to the latest mobile design trends that you should be aware of before you hit publish. After all, you don’t want someone to write a blog post about why your mobile experience failed, right? 😉

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