Senior Quibi execs asked to take pay cut: report

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Senior Quibi executives were asked to take a 10 percent pay cut as the short-video streaming service attempts to reduce its expenses after launching in April, according to a memo the company sent to employees, obtained by The Hill on Wednesday.

“In regard to tightening our belt, our senior leadership team has volunteered to take a 10% pay cut because it’s the right thing to do,” the memo read.

People familiar with the matter told told The Wall Street Journal that Quibi Chief Executive Meg Whitman will also take a 10 percent cut to her pay. 

The streaming company has also reportedly discussed laying off about 10 percent of its more than 250 employees, mostly of lower and middle positions, one person told the Journal. Quibi has already removed some low-level workers in the past few weeks, sources said. 

But a top Quibi executive told the newspaper there are no current plans to conduct substantial cuts. 

The memo to employees said that, “Nothing has changed since our last company meeting two weeks ago.”

“Quibi is in a good financial position,” the memo read. “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.”

A Quibi spokesperson said the streaming service is renewing shows, has announced two new shows and will announce more in the future. 

Quibi’s service is designed to provide videos that are shorter than 10 minutes to subscribers who are on the go. The company has raised about $1.75 billion from tech companies, movie studios and other donors, but the coronavirus pandemic virtually eliminated commuting as almost all of the U.S. was under stay-at-home orders following the app’s launch. 

The company has also run into financial issues as major advertisers want to renegotiate their contracts. In addition, a video company, Eko, has filed a lawsuit claiming that Quibi committed patent infringement and stole trade secrets, which Quibi denies, according to the Journal.

Some Quibi staffers have also expressed their anger to Page Six that Reese Witherspoon was reportedly paid $6 million to narrate a show while layoffs were occurring. Witherspoon narrates “Fierce Queens,” a BBC-produced show about the abilities of female animals around the world. 

“Quibi may have to implement cutbacks, and people are fuming that stars like Reese got paid millions,” the source told Page Six.

But another source familiar with the situation refuted these claims, telling Fox News that Witherspoon’s pay was “far, far, far less” than $6 million. 

The Quibi memo sent to employees called the Page Six story “completely inaccurate,” and the talent compensation “utterly inaccurate.”

The app has garnered about 1.6 million free trial subscribers and been downloaded about 4.5 million times. But Quibi has dropped off Apple’s Top 200 apps list, according to Fox News, less than two months after launching. 

Updated at 4:13 p.m.

Tags app Coronavirus COVID-19 layoffs pay cuts Quibi Reese Witherspoon streaming app streaming services

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