Quibi’s In Trouble Already

Unsplash/João Silas

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Short form streaming service Quibi (you know, the one no one asked for) has done its best to get its advertisers undies in a bunch after a slow start since its launch on April 6th.

Pre-launch, Quibi had secured more than $150M in ad dollars from a who’s who of big ballers like Pepsi, AB Inbev, YumBrands, and Walmart.

Well, now, those advertisers are pulling a Karen and asking to see the manager (founder Jeffrey Katzenberg).

Advertisers are asking for deferred payments due to low viewership numbers and coronavirus budget crunches. Speaking of crunch… you mean to tell me that stoners aren’t watching the new ‘Reno 911!’ and ordering Cheesy Gordita Crunches for Fourth Meal?


Unfortunately for Quibi, the proof is in the pudding. If the pudding is sh*tty viewership numbers. The short streamer has only logged 4.2M downloads since its inception, and of those 4.2M downloaders, only 1.5M have signed up for a free 90-day trial run. Hey Jeff, here’s a spoiler: if they don’t want your product for free, they don’t want your product.

Quibi had said it hoped to hit 7M subscribers its first year. Subscribers, not just people who download a free app, though they’d be pretty close if that were the case. By year three, Quibi expected to climb to 16M paying users. Just because you say something, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I don’t care how many times you’ve read The Secret.

So what’s the deal?

If you ask Jeffrey Katzenberg, it’s all ‘rona’s fault. He said he blames “everything” that’s gone wrong with Quibi on the virus. Uhhh, Jeff, you make an app designed for people glued to their phones, this isn’t corona’s fault.

If you ask users, however, they’ll tell you that Quibi’s failure to perform stems from three things: a lack of technical features…and the content isn’t great…and marketing. Those are three pretty big things if you’re an app that makes content it wants to market.

Katzenberg says he has a plan for the marketing portion, at least. He wants to make Quibi content more sharable across social media. So marketing without spending any dollars, spoken like a true out of touch CEO.

The bottom line…

It’s only going to get worse for ol Jeff. While he tried to pass the buck to coronavirus, Netflix and Amazon Prime have seen no shortage of new subscribers since everyone began shutting in at home back in March. That means more money to make more original content that the algorithm knows you want to see.

What’s more? HBO Max drops today, marking another competitor with deep pockets slinging content that has proven successful in the past.

Water Cooler Talking Point(s)

💧 “Look, Dr. Dre flopped on the Firm album. Maybe J-Katz can come back with a Chronic 2001 type of force on his next project.” (AJ, The Water Coolest HQ)


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The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.