Quibi Failed to Retain More Than 90 Percent of Subscribers on Free Trials


Quibi Failed to Retain More Than 90 Percent of Subscribers on Free Trials

Can the startup survive?


For Quibi, the short-form, mobile-focused streaming service launched earlier this year, the bad news keeps coming.

It’s already known that Quibi has failed to come up with any hits or penetrate cultural consciousness in any serious way, since its launch in April. Moreover, the coronavirus has negated the planned “on the go” ethos that the startup had been counting on. Now, there are indications that the service has failed to retain most of the subscribers who signed up for free trials.


Quibi launched with an uncommonly long free trial period of three months, and those trials began to expire in early July. According to an analysis from Sensor Tower, as reported by Variety, just eight percent of Quibi users opted to continue paying for the service.

The estimate stated that just 72,000 of those who signed up for free trials between April 6-8 have chosen to pay for Quibi. Per Variety, if the 8 percent conversion rate held up across the 360,000 customers who have signed up for Quibi across all three months.

The numbers, to be clear, are estimated by Sensor Tower, and are not officially released figures from Quibi itself.

The story follows a widely-read long-form article published in New York magazine on July 6, titled “Is Anyone Watching Quibi?” The piece included several embarrassing details, including that CEO Meg Whitman stated that “I’m not sure I’d classify myself as an entertainment enthusiast.” Another problem is the allegation that most creators in business with Quibi likely aren’t offering their best work: “Quibi is getting A-talent’s B-material, or else producers’ desk-drawer scripts.”

In addition, the story implied strained relations between Whitman and founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, while saying that neither of them is particularly social media-savvy; Katzenberg, per the magazine’s reporting, is “among the moguls of his generation who have their emails printed out (and vertically folded, for some reason) by an assistant.”

Also, market research in the spring cited two sources that told the magazine about, “70 percent of respondents said they thought Quibi was a food-delivery service,” although the company denied that.

Quibi is reportedly seeking deals to become available on Roku and Amazon, after it added Apple TV and Chromecast capability.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters