Roku (ROKU 2.69%) is poised to acquire the entire video catalog of short-form streaming outfit Quibi, the Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman start-up that sought to do for mobile video what Netflix (NFLX 5.54%) did for TV streaming.
Quibi was a mobile-only platform that shut down 18 months after launch due to a failure to attract any interest from the public. Although it had signed on some Hollywood star power to produce content, and lined up advertisers to help support it, the service didn't catch on at all with the public.
By acquiring the rights to the Quibi library, Roku will have available to it exclusive programming it can offer on its own Roku Channel platform to supplement the content produced by others.
Quibi's shows were often episodic and ran less than 10 minutes long. The coronavirus pandemic may have seemed a unique opportunity for the service to gain traction, but Quibi was billed as a service for consumers to watch on the go or "in between moments" of their day, and stay-at-home orders and lockdowns that caused viewers to binge watch Netflix or Disney+ on their TVs left little incentive for them to watch mobile video.
Quibi, whose name is a mashup of "quick bite," signed artists with an arrangement where the programs would be exclusive to the site for between two and seven years. The Wall Street Journal says there is some disagreement over whether Roku will be able to air some of the programs, though Roku reportedly disputes it.
Financial terms for the acquisition were not available.