Quibi may be eyeing a substantial pivot away from its founding premise.
Initially touted as a platform for snack-sized, premium content to be consumed exclusively on mobile phones, the company is now in talks with Roku and Amazon about building smart TV apps, Variety reports. The discussions with Roku are reportedly in very early stages, while the Amazon negotiations — for its Fire TV devices — have been ongoing and recently picked back up.
The prospective expansion in scope arrives as Quibi is reportedly weathering shaky subscription figures. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Jeffrey Katzenberg-founded and Meg Whitman-led company was projecting 7.4 million subscribers in year one, but is thus far on track to clocking less than 2 million.
The shift in strategy may also be due to the coronavirus pandemic, which Katzenberg has said is the source of all Quibi’s woes. Given that Quibi was designed to be watched in shorter sessions while out and about — while commuting or waiting in line, for instance — quarantining measures have necessitated that the platform meet viewers where they are. To that end, the company accelerated a planned product launch — the ability to cast Quibi to smart TVs — last month.
In May, Quibi said said it had clocked 3.5 million downloads and counts 1.3 million active users. Earlier this month, amid the tepid response to its launch, the company said senior-level execs were taking a voluntary 10% pay cut, but denied that layoffs were afoot.