The Coronavirus Might Kill the Economy but It Saved Us From Quibi

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg is blaming his terrible app on the coronavirus. | Source: Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP

  • Short-video streaming app Quibi has performed well below expectations this year.
  • Its co-founder just blamed the coronavirus. He said our “in-between moments” aren’t the “same.”
  • We owe the coronavirus a huge social-distanced hug for saving us from another app built to destroy our attention spans.

Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg recently admitted that his streaming app is not doing so hot.

The short video-streaming app is meant to deliver entertainment in shorts bursts of 10 minutes or less. That’s too much time for the average person to devote to this platform.

Founder Blames Quibi Failure on COVID-19

Katzenberg told The New York Times,

I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus.


Everything. But we own it.

What, exactly, do you ‘own’ if you’re blaming ‘everything’ on a virus? Owning and blaming are two polar opposite behaviors.

‘Owning’ the issue would sound more like, ‘We made some bad decisions. The coronavirus hasn’t helped, but we will figure this out.’

Source: Twitter

According to the NYT, Quibi projected to have seven million subscribers and $250 million in revenue for the first year. So far, they’ve had 2.9 million downloads and only 1.3 million active users.

That means less than half of the people who installed the app were interested enough to stick around. Katzenberg blames it on the shifting “in-between moments,” where his app was meant to thrive.

My hope, my belief was that there would still be many in-between moments while sheltering in place. There are still those moments, but it’s not the same. It’s out of sync.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Saved Us All From Quibi

Mr. Katzenberg’s failure is an undeniable boon for humanity.  As our attention spans are slowly being turned into digital vapor, do we really need another app dedicated to stealing our “in-between moments”?

It’s bad enough with social media and the rise of short-video apps like TikTok and Snapchat. At least those platforms mostly flood our eyes with amateur content.

Another potential fan sees the truth.| Source: Twitter

Quibi raised nearly $2 billion in funding to hi-jack our focus. They have ‘professional’ shows with real ‘talent’ like Chrissy Teigen and Liam Hemsworth.

If the coronavirus blocked these shows from taking over our minds, then we owe this virus a big pat on the back. Can you imagine a world where, in-between watching Ozark and checking Instagram, we suddenly need to watch a five-minute video of Anna Kendrick playing with a CGI dummy?

It sounds terrible, and quite frankly, I’m proud of humanity for avoiding the temptation thus far.

And don’t feel too bad for Katzenberg. The Hollywood mogul is worth nearly $1 billion.

Quibi Was Never Going to Win

Besides the overt attack on our mental health, Quibi has a terrible business model. Who’s going to pay $5 a month to watch shortened versions of their favorite types of shows?

TikTok and YouTube already own our “in-between moments,” and they’re free. If people are settling in to watch a show, they’re ready to stay for a while.

In 2019, Netflix said its viewers watch an average of two hours of programming a day. That’s enough time to watch a movie or a few episodes of a show.

Or, if you’re a Quibi fan, you could squeeze in twenty-four episodes of programming. Who wants that?

If we someday go the way of Quibi, that’s when we know it’s all over. Thank god the coronavirus has saved us from this terrible app.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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