Oh Quibi, we hardly knew ye, and now you’ve already been subsumed by another equally made-up sounding word. In the wake of reports earlier this week, Roku has confirmed to Deadline that it has bought the rights to most of Quibi’s library of content, not including some of the streaming service’s daily news shows. Quibi, if you don’t remember the hoopla last year, was created by big-spender executives Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman and designed as a mobile-only streaming platform offering minutes-long “quick bites” of shows to watch on the go, either horizontally or vertically with a whole “Turnstyle” technology. The pandemic hit, nobody was watching anything on the go, and also the quick bites themselves weren’t much of a meal. So by October, Quibi announced that it was shutting down.
In its deal with Quibi, Roku gets a bunch of already finished shows with A-list talent (like Chrissy Teigan, Anna Kendrick, Idris Elba, and Rachel Brosnahan with a golden arm), though Quibi’s infamously flexible rights deal stays in place, meaning that the rights to all of them revert back to the creators after seven years. While Rokus are mostly used as devices to watch other streaming services (like HBO Max, finally, as of December), they do have their own Roku channel, which is where the Quibi shows will play for free with advertising starting later this year, according to Deadline. As for the whole Turnstyle thing, that’s not coming along to Roku; the Quibi shows will play more like standard TV. “It’s the same availability of content, the same presentation of content,” Roku’s VP of programming Rob Holmes told Deadline. “But as we spent a bunch of time with it, it really works, but they’re just TV episodes.” Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, bold mobile-not-quite-TV experiment to regular old TV.