Quibi's struggles have not subsided since the mobile-focused streaming service was launched in the middle of a pandemic that forced millions of consumers to hunker down at home.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Quibi is asking senior execs to take a 10% pay cut and is mulling a layoff of about 10% of its 250-plus base of employees. CEO Meg Whitman has already taken a 10% cut in pay, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.
Quibi, the report added, is looking to reduce costs after the service struggled to gain traction in the weeks following its April 6 national debut. Quibi does not intend to make "substantial cuts" to its workforce, but would focus on low- and mid-level employees, the paper added.
Update: According to Deadline, Quibi issued a memo in response to the recent rumors that confirmed the voluntary pay cut among some top execs, but characterized reports of an imminent 10% layoff as inaccurate.
"Quibi is in a good financial position," Whitman and company founder Jeffrey Katzenberg explained, noting that nothing has changed since a company meeting held two weeks ago. "As we said in that meeting, we will look for ways to tighten our belt. We are not laying off staff as a part of cost saving measures. We've recently added a dozen new Quibi employees."
News of more troubles at Quibi follow a recent report that some of its biggest advertisers are seeking to defer payments or alter ad billing schedules over concerns about low viewership on the platform.
Per the WSJ, Quibi has signed up at least 1.6 million subscribers to free trials and its app has been downloaded about 4.5 million times.
Quibi, which has raised about $1.75 billion, recently updated its app to allow users to cast content to the TV using Apple's AirPlay and plans to add Chromecast support sometime this month, according to Quibi chief product officer Tom Conrad:
Sure we designed Quibi for on-the-go, but these days visiting the family room is like a day trip… so AirPlay support is live for iOS in Quibi 1.3. Working hard on Chromecast too which will be available in June.— Tom Conrad (@tconrad) May 26, 2020
Quibi's recent patch of troubles also extend into the courts. The startup has locked horns with a company called Eko alleging that Quibi's "Turnstyle" tech, which seamlessly streams video on a mobile device held in portrait or landscape mode, infringes on one of its patents. Quibi has labeled Eko's claims as "untrue and implausible on their face."
- Big advertisers want to defer payments, tweak deals with Quibi – report
- Elliott splashes cash on Eko's quarrel with Quibi – report
- Quibi notches 1.7M downloads in first week
- Quibi in legal quarrel over its 'Turnstyle' tech
- Consumers already quibbling about Quibi's lack of TV support
- Quibi pitches 90-day free trial to pump early sign-ups
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading