Roku acquires all of Quibi’s content for free streaming

Quibi has raised $1.75B before its launch in April.
Image: Quibi

Few stories in the tech world last year were as sad as Quibi’s. What once seemed like an exciting new way to watch content quickly failed. The app never gained traction with consumers—likely because it was a mobile-focused streaming service that rolled out during a global pandemic.

As such, Quibi shut down just six months after its hype-filled launch. Now, the streaming service’s content will live on thanks to a deal with Roku. More than 75 Quibi series and documentaries will be free to binge on the Roku Channel.

Nice to Have

The problem with Quibi wasn’t necessarily its content. In its short lifespan, the service produced a few series that were entertaining enough to be worth a watch. That being said, its content wasn’t good enough to keep it alive.

Although the original shows and documentaries might not have been worth Quibi’s subscription price, many are definitely worth watching now that they’re free.

On Friday, Roku officially announced that it will acquire Quibi’s entire content library. It reportedly includes more than 200 hours of shows. Interestingly, the Roku Channel will feature series that Quibi already debuted alongside several all-new programs.

The official Roku Twitter account also performed a “summoning circle” with emojis to bring the Quibi account back from the dead.

It’s unclear how Roku plans to tout the Quibi brand. The streaming giant could try to regain a bit of the original Quibi hype by using its social media accounts and branding. However, it’s probably better to steer clear of that considering Quibi’s massive failure.

Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how people respond to content in its new home.

Hope for Quibi?

As mentioned, Quibi’s shows weren’t necessarily the problem. The bigger issue was the fact that users didn’t appreciate the mobile-focused approach of the platform. When Quibi first launched, users couldn’t even watch shows on a laptop or cast them to a TV. People sitting at home because of the pandemic didn’t want to be restricted to watching shows on their phones.

Of course, Roku’s acquisition will make Quibi’s library of content streamable on a variety of devices. The Roku Channel is available on everything from mobile app stores to smart TVs, as well as the company’s flagship streaming devices.

This will allow people to engage with Quibi’s content in an entirely new way. It will be interesting to see which shows appear on the Roku Channel.

Regardless, users will be able to enjoy them without paying a cent. Each show will be supported by ads—giving Roku a way to make money off of its investment. That shouldn’t be much of an inconvenience considering that most of today’s content platforms have some sort of ad-supported tier.

It remains unclear when Quibi’s content will arrive on the Roku Channel. The company said that it will debut at some point in 2021. Although that doesn’t really narrow things down, the wait likely won’t be too long.


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