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Quibi might be dead, but its content lives on with acquisition by Roku

Quibi’s hype-driven launch and subsequent rapid failure have become comedic fodder for memes and pop-culture references, but it looks like Roku is the one getting the last laugh. The streaming device company announced today that it has acquired Quibi Holdings, LLC, the company that holds all of Quibi’s content-distribution rights, for an undisclosed amount.

The acquisition effectively moves control of Quibi’s content to Roku, which plans to make that content available exclusively on its The Roku Channel service. The content, which includes more than 75 shows and documentaries that Quibi created in conjunction with leading studios and production companies, will be made available for free on an ad-supported basis to all Roku users in 2021.

“Today’s announcement marks a rare opportunity to acquire compelling new original programming that features some of the biggest names in entertainment,” said Rob Holmes, vice president of programming at Roku ,in an emailed press release. The move is also a departure from Roku’s historic model of being a streaming platform with an agnostic approach to content providers. Now, with this acquisition, Roku becomes a content player on its own platform.

The Quibi content includes Emmy award-winning scripted series, alternative and reality programming, and documentaries featuring stars such as Idris Elba, Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Richie, Chrissy Teigen, and Lena Waithe, according to the release. Not only will the Roku Channel be the home of content that was available on Quibi before it shut its doors, but it will also debut more than a dozen new programs that had been slated to appear on the now-defunct service.

Quibi, founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, launched on April 6, 2020, as an attempt to create a streaming service aimed at a mobile audience that supposedly wanted “snackable” video. Shows and movies were organized in 10-minute chapters. Subscribers were asked to pay $5 monthly for ad-supported access to Quibi content or $8 monthly for ad-free viewing.

But CEO Meg Whitman suddenly found herself in the unenviable position of trying to make a success out of a mobile-oriented content company during an unprecedented pandemic that forced many folks to stay home, thus removing much of the daily commute time that Quibi was counting on.

Quibi fast-tracked a feature that enabled casting of its content to TVs, but this wasn’t enough to keep the company from eventually shutting down in December 2020.

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