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Roku Buys Quibi's Entire Library For An Affordable $100 Million

Roku Buys Quibi's Entire Library For An Affordable $100 Million

The $1.75 billion streaming start-up from ex-Disney Jeffrey Katzenberg flopped hard, with the entire library being bought up for $100 million.

The $1.75 billion streaming start-up from ex-Disney Jeffrey Katzenberg flopped hard, with the entire library being bought up for $100 million.

Credit | Quibi

Quibi, the semi-innovative company named after “quick bites,” had shut down late last year, due to declining revenues and a <10% retention rate. The company had not announced any plans to sell their content which had cost the experimental company more than $1 billion dollars, at least up until now.

While Quibi has shut down, its video content and entire library will be picked up by streaming device powerhouse Roku, available for free through Roku’s Roku Channel. The Roku Channel will become the exclusive home to Quibi’s 75 shows and almost 9,000 episodes, thanks to a new deal.

 

Through an adorable exchange between Roku and Quibi’s official Twitter accounts on Friday, Roku summoned the ghost of Quibi, announcing a revival of its content through Roku devices. According to The Wall Street Journal, Roku will pay Quibi under $100 million for the global rights to distribute and own Quibi’s content.

The only issue that pops up here is that Quibi had designed its shows and movies to have 5 to 10 minute episodes, viewable through portrait modes on smartphones. That pushed into part of the initial hype that Quibi received, with short form, smartphone based content having appealed to many.

Even with that hype, the experimental streaming service struggled to gain any traction, losing over 90% of its trial users within the first 3-6 months. Most of these issues were due to the inconvenience of only being able to watch Quibi shows on your phone.

Obviously, with the pandemic, staying at home became much more of a thing, sort of ruining the point of Quibi. With their shows having been designed for a quick break on a bus or during a work break, staying at home completely ruined the point, as most people had 24/7 access to a higher definition, and larger, TV.

Even with these issues, Roku seems determined that Quibi’s content would make a good addition to the Roku Channel, providing some high-quality shows with big stars, for only a $100 million price tag. These shows include some big star deals, such as with Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, and Chrissy Teigen.

Rob Holmes, VP of Programming at Roku has said that “We’re (Roku) excited to make this content available for free to our users in The Roku Channel through an ad-supported model.” That would compliment many other shows available on Roku’s first-party channel, home to over 40,000 free programs.

The Roku Channel comes bundled with Roku streaming devices, available to an estimated 62 million people in the US alone. The Channel is available to be viewed on a web browser or through Roku devices, monetized through a free, but ad-supported model.

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The truly interesting part of this story, is looking into how this might work with Roku devices. Since Rokus work on TVs, and TVs obviously aren’t designed vertically as smartphones, Quibi’s content doesn’t necessarily seem like a good fit. These programs were designed exclusively for smartphones, with TV streaming options only added very late into the streaming service’s life.

With no way to watch these programs on TV without AirPlay, I’m not completely sure how these programs will work on Roku devices and TVs, but I’m sure that Roku has something planned. 

TechCrunch

While $100 million is by no accounts small money, for over $1 billion worth of content, I’d say that’s a good deal for Roku. Taking into account the over 8,500 episodes and movies previously available on Quibi as well, that likely will bring Roku Channel’s content catalog to over 50,000 programs. This will probably be a great deal for Roku, which has had nothing but a good time over the past years, as they’d made the best choices for the company for a while.

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