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Two months after acquiring the Quibi library, Roku has tapped a handful of the defunct mobile app’s former executives to manage the rollout of that programming on its platform.
Two former senior content executives at Quibi, Colin Davis and Brian Tannenbaum, have updated their LinkedIn profiles to indicate their new roles at Roku. Former Quibi business affairs executive Ryan Bocskay has also indicated via the social network that he recently started a job at Roku. It’s unclear how many other Quibi employees have joined the streaming media company.
“Quibi built a talented team to support the development of really fantastic programming,” a Roku spokesman said in a statement. “We were thrilled to welcome a number of them to the Roku team in recent weeks and their deep expertise will help ensure the successful launch and growth of the Quibi content on The Roku Channel.”
Quibi launched in April 2020, offering highly produced shortform video programming designed for mobile devices. But the company, led by CEO Meg Whitman and chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, struggled to attract subscribers. Just six months after Quibi’s launch, Katzenberg and Whitman announced that they would be shutting down the app and returning money to investors.
The move meant that more than 75 shows, some of which had yet to premiere, were without a home. A few months later, in early January, Roku inked a deal to acquire Quibi’s existing licenses for that library. The company plans to release the shows on The Roku Channel, its curated hub for free, ad-supported programming.
Roku has historically served as a platform for third-party entertainment apps like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. In acquiring the Quibi library, it became a purveyor of original programming for the first time, which means working with the studios and producers who created the shows and setting a rollout plan for the projects that are debuting for the first time on The Roku Channel. Roku also could decide to renew shows for additional seasons if they perform well with its users and it decides to move into the production of original programming.
Hiring former Quibi executives will help it build up an expertise around launching original programming as it prepares to make the Quibi library available. Davis, who previously worked in development at TBS, on shows like Search Party and Chad, was an early Quibi hire, helping the company build out its original programming slate with early orders like #FreeRayshawn, which went on to win two shortform Emmys. He also oversaw the comedy slate for the company, including Anna Kendrick starrer Dummy and Kevin Hart vehicle Die Hart. Per his LinkedIn profile, he will work on scripted content for The Roku Channel. Tannenbaum, who spent seven years at Lionsgate, led alternative and unscripted programming for Quibi, including shows like Chrissy’s Court and the Punk’d revival.
Bocskay, who was previously vp business affairs at NBCUniversal, will serve as the company’s lead production attorney.
Roku has not yet announced when the Quibi programming will be available on The Roku Channel.
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