Entertainment App Quibi Ceases Operations

Quibi is shutting down.

The company that made short videos and was founded by movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg has announced that it is ceasing operations after failing to attract enough viewers.

After debts are paid, any remaining funds will be returned to investors, who put up $1.8 billion U.S. to launch the start-up. Quibi’s app, which launched in April, was meant to showcase engaging short-form videos with big stars. It also used technology that made it easy for viewers to see shows on their phones vertically or horizontally.

Quibi was backed by money from giants of media and finance, including Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS). It also attracted advertising money from big marketers such as Walmart (NYSE:WMT). The idea was to entertain people during commutes and other dull moments -- like a wait at the dentist’s office.

But COVID-19 meant there were fewer of those moments to be had. The app also couldn’t play on TVs initially, limiting its appeal to people sheltering at home during the pandemic. Quibi had revamped some of its programming, focusing on what resonated with subscribers. But it proved to be too little, too late.