San Francisco (AFP)

The Roku streaming service announced on Friday that it had bought Quibi's video library, which it will broadcast for free this year, thus giving a second life to the short programs of the platform launched with great fanfare in April 2020.

Founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a former Disney boss, Quibi (for "quick bites" or "bites") took service last April but closed six months later.

It was designed above all for a mobile audience, eager for short content available on smartphone or tablet ... Behaviors that the pandemic has drastically reduced.

"The Roku channel will soon host Emmy-nominated series (...) with stars like Idris Elba, Kevin Hart (...) and many others," the company said in a statement.

She does not give the amount of the transaction, but the Wall Street Journal understands that Roku paid "much less" than $ 100 million to acquire the catalog.

Quibi had bet big, with 50 programs available from day one and feature films paying up to $ 100,000 a minute, as much as the big Netflix productions.

But the success was not there, despite the download of the application on millions of mobiles.

Containment measures have indeed favored platforms on all screens and traditional long formats.

In addition, "the idea was not strong enough to justify a full-fledged streaming service" admitted in October Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, the chief executive.

Unlike Quibi or Netflix, the Roku channel is free.

The company derives its revenue from advertising.

Like Tubi or Pluto TV, it relies on films and series that are generally less recent and on a certain tolerance of users towards advertising spots, like certain private television channels.

The acquisition of exclusive content, which viewers cannot watch elsewhere, may allow it to increase its prices.

On Wednesday, it announced that it had exceeded 50 million active accounts in 2020, 14 million more than the year before.

Quibi had set its subscription at $ 5 per month with advertising or $ 8 without, a price comparable to that of Disney +, which has Marvel, Pixar, etc. catalogs.

Beyond the pandemic, Quibi appeared when the streaming landscape had already become very dense, Disney + and Apple TV + having entered the scene with significant resources a year ago.

HBO Max (AT&T) and Peacock (Comcast) entered service last spring.

© 2021 AFP