Quibi reportedly explores a possible sale as it's set to miss its subscriber target 'by a large margin'

Quibi CEO Meg Whitman speaks about the short-form video streaming service for mobile Quibi during a keynote address January 8, 2020 at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, N
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

Quibi is evidently already looking at a potential sale within the same year as its launch.

The struggling streaming service that splits its video content up into "quick bites" and debuted in April is "exploring several strategic options including a possible sale," The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. This comes as the service, the Journal writes, "struggles to sign up subscribers" and is reportedly "on pace to miss its initial paid subscriber target by a large margin."

Back in June, the Journal reported that Quibi "at its current pace" was set to "sign up fewer than two million paying subscribers" by the end of its first year, which would be "well under its original target of 7.4 million." When the service launched in April, it offered a 90-day free trial, but according to The Verge, data from Sensor Tower shows that that of the roughly 910,000 users who signed up in its first days, just 72,000 of them continued using the service after their trial ended.

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Among the early criticism directed at Quibi was the fact that it was mobile only, and users couldn't watch the app's original shows on their TVs. This was especially problematic at a time when many people were no longer commuting to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and were, therefore, not in need of short content to watch on the go. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the founder of Quibi, has blamed the service's weak start on the pandemic, telling The New York Times, "I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything." The ability to watch Quibi content a TV was later added.

A report by Vulture in July ran through some of Quibi's woes since launch, including the detail that market research conducted after the airing of Quibi commercials during the Oscars and Super Bowl revealed that "70 percent of respondents said they thought Quibi was a food-delivery service." Brendan Morrow

Update 5 p.m. ET: A spokesperson from Quibi said the founder and CEO "are committed to continuing to build the business" and brushed off reports of a potential sale as "rumor or speculation."

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