Your Daily Horoscope Your Daily Horoscope

Quibi’s founders tell us that the name stands for “quick bites.” They were prophetic: the mobile-streaming app looks like it will quickly bite the dust.

When it launched on April 6, users were offered a 90-day free trial. Regardless, few signed up. As of last week, there were around 1.5 million registered users — a number so low that advertisers have reportedly asked to renegotiate their deals.

It gets worse. With free trials now starting to end, few of those users are opting to pay for more. Among those who signed up on April 6–8, no more than 72,000 — 8% of the total — have shelled out for a subscription ($4.99/mo with ads, $7.99 without), according to market analysts Sensor Tower. If that rate continues, Quibi will end up converting only 360,000 trials into paying customers.

That would be an abysmal figure for the much-hyped startup, which has raised over $1.7 billion in funding (but shown little willingness to invest in animation). Quibi was eyeing 7.4 million subscribers by April 2021, but is on track for only two million at this pace. The company disputes Sensor Tower’s estimate, telling Variety that it is “incorrect by an order of magnitude.”

Creatively led by Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Dreamworks Animation co-founder and former Disney Studios head, the app has struggled since launch. The mobile-only format has been criticized, the shows have met with a mix of indifference and derision, and the business faces a significant legal challenge regarding patent infringement. Most importantly, many users question the very premise of a premium mobile streaming service.

The platform’s woes were recently chronicled in a well-researched Vulture report. The article finds fault with Katzenberg himself, painting him as out of touch and in denial — it reminds us that he blamed all the platform’s problems on the coronavirus. It also mentions the rumored tensions between him and his CEO Meg Whitman, who oversees the company’s operational side.

Whatever the reasons, Quibi is in trouble. That’s a shame, as we’re looking forward to the handful of animated shows it has commissioned so far, and hoping for more to come. Big money for original content is always welcome.

(Image at top: The Quibi animated series “Your Daily Horoscope.”)

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