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Analysts Say Quibi’s Rocky Start Is Due to Lack of Gripping Content as Streamer Blames the Pandemic and Protests

Stephanie Sengwe

Quibi’s launch hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing. Not only did the short-form streaming service launch right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because people were forced to stay at home, it’s mobile-only viewing model became a point of contention for users.

Not only that, the company was (and still is) in the middle of a patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets legal battle with Eko over the Turnstyle technology.

In addition to these issues, the app has also not performed well. According to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Quibi was the fourth ranked app based on number of downloads for iPhones at launch. However, that number has since tanked, placing the app at 284 as of Tuesday, well below Disney+, which was at 50 and HBO Max, which was at number 67, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Sensor Tower also revealed the app last week reached “its lowest level of first-time installs with 62,000, down from 170,000 a week earlier,” The Los Angeles Times reported. The Times also noted Quibi disputed the firm’s numbers, saying their data “differs from the information Quibi receives directly from Apple and Google and that its app has been downloaded at least 4.6 million times, including those who signed up for a free trial.”

For CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi’s drop in rankings can be attributed partially to the pandemic as well as the ongoing protests against racism. The streamer stopped their marketing last week and didn’t release any new shows. “These are truly pivotal and unprecedented times,” Whitman told The Times. “We needed to take the time to step back, be a part of this discussion.”

Unlike Disney+, which immediately found a staple in “The Mandalorian,” as well as Apple TV+, which gained traction with “The Morning Show,” Quibi hasn’t had one defining show despite having some of Hollywood’s best creating content for the platform. Some of their shows include “Survive,” starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins, “Most Dangerous Game,” with Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz, reality show “Thanks a Million” with Jennifer Lopez and home-renovation comedy “Flipped” starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson.

“To blame the coronavirus entirely is nonsensical,” Ross Benes, an analyst with research firm eMarketer, told The Times. “They need quality shows that people will pay for.”

Quibi claims 3.5 million customers and 1.3 million active users; Sensor Tower counts 2.9 million customers. Despite the discrepancy Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who raised $1.8 billion for the streamer, is disappointed.

“It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted,” he told The New York Times.

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