The streaming service offered nuggets of TV fit for the commute – and then we stopped going to the office. Now it’s folding, but were any of its shows worth watching?
- They built it, but people did not come: the cautionary tale of Quibi
Ah, Quibi, we hardly knew ye. The new streaming platform’s demise this week has left most of us with many questions, such as, “What’s a Quibi?”, “Is it as disgusting as it sounds?” and “Isn’t it Lidl’s own brand version of Angel Delight?” Launched in April this year, Quibi, a portmanteau of “quick” and “bite” (as in, “Quick, bite off my ears, so I never have to hear the word Quibi again”) came promising original short content for our smartphones – although even it must have been surprised by just how short it ended up being. Quibi’s gimmick was that no episode was longer than 10 minutes, because they assumed that’s how millennials like to consume content – watching a tiny bit of a show on a tiny screen in between eating their avocado toast, spinning their Marie Kondo fidget spinner and killing various industries by not being born in the 1960s.
Why did Quibi collapse? Maybe the pandemic means fewer people are commuting, so fewer people need short-form content. Maybe a dramatically changing world is a bad time to release something new, when people crave the familiar amid the chaos. Or maybe a TV show where people try to recreate a meal that’s been shot at their faces through a cannon isn’t the basis for a successful business. Who can say? Well, me, potentially – in one of my routine attempts to numb my brain from the horrors of reality, I spent last week watching nothing but Quibi.