Quibi, the curious “TV in your cellphone” service that lasted for roughly six months final yr, will quickly stay on—as a free-with-ads channel on Roku.
After rumors started circulating earlier this week, Quibi and Roku confirmed on Friday that the 2 corporations had reached phrases for an acquisition, placing most of Quibi’s hours of unique programming into Roku’s fingers. Many of the Quibi service concerned scripted sequence, together with documentary and reality-TV content material, and Roku will host these sequence on a devoted Roku “channel” later this yr, whereas Quibi’s earlier “each day” information episodes won’t be a part of the deal.
Surprisingly, it is not only a deal for final yr’s content material. No matter had been beforehand cranking as a part of the Quibi portfolio of expertise and producers seems to be again on the desk, with Roku telling customers to anticipate “greater than a dozen new applications” that hadn’t beforehand debuted on the Quibi app in 2020. Roku did not use in the present day’s bulletins to make clear what the programming is, however Selection pegs lots of the exhibits as documentary miniseries, together with a horror sequence written by Steven Spielberg that will have initially solely been obtainable for streaming throughout nighttime hours.
Because the deal revolves fully round “content material distribution rights,” Roku won’t be buying something in Quibi’s expertise portfolio, together with the “turnstile” system used to vary video content material and formatting primarily based on how a viewer holds a smartphone display—a fairly respectable gimmick for transportable video viewing, I discovered in my checks final yr.
A bit lower than $1.75 billion
Unsurprisingly, neither Roku nor Quibi introduced the phrases of this acquisition deal, however the trusted insiders at Deadline peg the deal at a worth of “lower than $100 million,” or at finest, 5.7 p.c of Quibi’s unique $1.75 billion valuation.
When you think about the hours of Quibi content material included within the deal, a lot of which is star-studded, it is arduous to argue that Roku does not come out forward. The streaming firm can now plaster faces like Christoph Waltz, Idris Elba, Anna Kendrick, Liam Hemsworth, and Kevin Hart on its default interface’s splash display, driving its 100 million-plus customers to a free, devoted content material channel. And whereas Quibi was a bizarre pitch on smartphones, with “mini-sodes” damaged up into eight minutes of content material or much less, that size for content material might work as a perfect quantity of video between ads, following the likes of miniature TV episodes on cable networks reminiscent of Grownup Swim.
In a farewell letter to Quibi staffers and buyers, service co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman supplied a frank two-part guess as to why the service did not take off in its unique, smartphone-only iteration: “As a result of the thought itself wasn’t sturdy sufficient to justify a standalone streaming service or due to our timing.” It stays to be seen what number of different upstart streaming companies undergo the identical destiny, contemplating that the nickel-and-diming of recent companies threatens to undo the simplicity that “reducing the twine” used to ivolve for switching from cable TV to a service like Netflix. In spite of everything, Quibi’s cope with Roku comes solely days after Discovery moved forward with its personal brand-new, paid streaming service.
Maybe Quibi simply had the incorrect concept about what sort of video content material, and ties to its person neighborhood, would drive an astonishing variety of new customers and repeat viewers within the yr 2020.
Itemizing picture by Quibi