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Roku might revive 'lost' Quibi features

Channel buys rights to streaming service's catalog

Six months after #x201c;Dummy,#x201d; starring Anna Kendrick, debuted on Quibi, the streaming service shut down. (Simon
Six months after “Dummy,” starring Anna Kendrick, debuted on Quibi, the streaming service shut down. (Simon and Schuster)

When Cody Heller created “Dummy,” it had the ingredients of a hit show.

The comedy starred popular actor Anna Kendrick, and its story about a woman’s interactions with her boyfriend’s sex doll certainly had potential for water cooler talk.

But six months after “Dummy” debuted on Quibi, the streaming service announced it was shutting down, causing more than 75 programs to go dark in December.

Now, “Dummy” and other programs have a second chance. Roku on Friday said it had acquired the global rights to Quibi’s catalog.

The shows — which include the Emmy-winning drama “ FreeRayshawn” — will later this year join the Roku Channel, a free, ad-supported streaming service.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but a person close to the sale who was not authorized to comment said the price was less than $100 million, a bargain, considering that Quibi had raised $1.75 billion, spending up to $100,000 a minute on programs.

Although designed for mobile phone viewing, Quibi’s short-form shows could benefit from Roku’s wider distribution platform and marketing clout, analysts said.

The deal also gives the San Jose, Calif., company a roster of original programming, some with high-profile celebrities who have large global followings.

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Despite an absence of breakout hits, some of Quibi’s shows with A-list celebrities such as “Dummy” or “Die Hart” starring Kevin Hart and John Travolta, were popular and could find success on a larger platform such as the Roku Channel, some analyst said.

The Roku Channel, which reaches 61.8 million people in the United States, has the scale that Quibi never had — both in viewers and advertising power.

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