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Roku Buys Rights to Quibi’s Shows

Most of Quibi's shows have been inaccessible since the short-form streaming service shut down in December 2020.

Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson in the Quibi original series, "Flipped"

Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson in Quibi’s “Flipped”

Patrick McElhenney

Roku has bought the rights to the programming from Quibi following the short-form streaming service’s shutdown in December 2020. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the library was valued at “significantly less” than $100 million.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Roku aimed to acquire the defunct streamer’s shows, which would be added to its free, ad-supported Roku Channel.

Quibi, the mobile-only streaming service that launched in April 2020, premiered dozens of original titles during its short life-span, including the Emmy-winning “#FreeRayshawn” and the Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson-led “Flipped” comedy, as well as titles starring Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth, and Christoph Waltz. Quibi also boasted revivals of old television shows, such as new takes on “Reno 911” and “Punk’d.” Quibi had seven-year licenses for its titles but did not outright own the rights to any of its content. Though a small number of Quibi’s shows can be viewed on the its YouTube channel, the bulk of Quibi’s programming has been inaccessible since the streaming service shut down in December 2020.

The Wall Street Journal report did not specify which Quibi shows could be acquired by Roku.

Quibi was founded by former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and Silicon Valley veteran Meg Whitman and failed to make an impact in the increasingly crowded streaming industry. The mobile-only Quibi launched when the coronavirus pandemic had begun spreading throughout the United States and forcing consumers to stay indoors, where they had access to larger screeners and more established streaming services. None of Quibi’s shows had a lasting impression on critics or audiences in a year that also saw the launch of big-money streaming services like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.

As for Roku, the Quibi deal could help the company bulk up its slate of original content. Roku is best-known for allowing users to access streaming services such as Disney+ and Netflix on their televisions but also operates its own ad-supported Roku Channel, which streams films and television shows from other companies.

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