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Quibi touts $750-million haul in second fundraising round

Quibi’s CEO Meg Whitman and Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg
Quibi’s CEO Meg Whitman and Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg at Quibi’s office in Hollywood last year.
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Quibi said it raised $750 million in its second round of financing, a boon for the Hollywood streaming service that launches early next month.

The company, led by its chief executive, tech veteran Meg Whitman, and chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has now raised a total of $1.75 billion.

The additional investment will give the company “tremendous flexibility and the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace,” Chief Financial Officer Ambereen Toubassy said in a statement.

The upstart streamer said its latest round of funding came from new and existing investors, including studios, tech companies and strategic partners it declined to identify. The $750-million second round includes a $400-million investment that Whitman had mentioned earlier this year.

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Quibi, which stands for “quick bites,” will roll out 175 original shows and 8,500 episodes in its first year, each 10 minutes long or less. The company will offer scripted and unscripted programs, including cinematic stories told in short chapters.

The content is designed for mobile phones. In some shows, viewers can change how they view their phone’s screen horizontally or vertically, which may uncover different camera perspectives on the shows they watch. Hollywood stars working on Quibi content include Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth and director Catherine Hardwicke.

“We have strong content and an app design and user interface which is resonating with early users,” Whitman said in a statement.

The service launches April 6 and will cost $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 a month without ads.

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Some industry observers say Quibi could revolutionize the market for premium short-form video. But others are skeptical, as similar efforts such as Verizon’s Go90, failed to capture a large enough audience for advertisers.

Several executives have left Quibi before its launch, including Diane Nelson, the company’s head of content operations and a former president of DC Entertainment. Earlier this year, Whitman also had to backtrack after comparing how journalists build relationships with sources to how sexual predators groom their child victims, according to news site the Information. Whitman later apologized.

Quibi has touted its strong advertiser support, reporting it has sold out its $150-million ad inventory for its first year. Quibi’s advertising partners include Procter & Gamble, T-Mobile and Walmart.


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