With only a few weeks to go till one of many greatest product launches of their careers, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman met alone for a number of hours.
The 2 veteran enterprise executives, representing the highest echelons of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, had been abruptly compelled to debate the way forward for the venture they’d labored on — and promoted — nearly continuously for the previous two years.
Their imaginative and prescient for a game-changing streaming video service referred to as
Seth Doane — a CBS information correspondent helming a particular model of the “60 Minutes” information program being created solely for Quibi — fell ailing with COVID-19 that month, and 16 members of the present’s crew examined optimistic. The virus was affecting every little thing.
Ought to Katzenberg and Whitman delay the launch of Quibi, slated for April 6? Did the thought, conceived as a manner for on-the-go millennials to devour “fast bites” of Hollywood-quality video on their telephones, even make sense any extra? And even with Quibi’s roster of A-list expertise like Steven Spielberg and Kevin Hart, would anybody pay $5 to $8 a month throughout an financial disaster?
The 2 execs, whose relationship had reportedly change into strained in the course of the multi-year collaboration, went by means of all of the elements of their fastidiously crafted marketing strategy collectively. Ultimately, Katzenberg later informed the Recode Media podcast, they determined to gamble:
“Pedal to the steel, “Katzenberg mentioned. “Let’s really go do that.”
The gamble, we now know, didn’t repay. And, in what’s destined to go down among the many most high-profile and costly enterprise flops, it took solely six months to unravel.
Whether or not Quibi’s demise was the results of uncontrollable acts of god or the inevitable product of overconfidence and dangerous assumptions is certain to be debated for years to return. However an up-close have a look at Quibi’s brief lifespan exhibits unheeded warning indicators and expensive missteps at key moments that hinted on the debacle to return.
This account of Quibi’s six-month failure to launch is predicated on Enterprise Insider’s personal reporting, in addition to reporting from The Wall Avenue Journal, The New York Instances, Deadline, The Info, and different information shops.