Quibi is a new video-streaming app intended for watching on the go. It focuses on short-form TV shows, all less than 10 minutes in length, designed for watching on your phone. It launches on April 6, 2020.
Quibi Is Short Episodic TV
Quibi will be yet another name in the ever-growing list of subscription-based media platforms. Like Netflix or Hulu, it will provide original content. But instead of presenting movies and episodes at their usual length, Quibi is specializing in content built for quick consumption. Quibi’s TV episodes are always less than 10 minutes, and movies are broken down into chapters that act more like episodes. All content is specially formatted for your phone, so you can view it in portrait or landscape formats.
In an unfortunate case of corporate portmanteau, Quibi (pronounced “kwih-bee”) stands for “quick bites.” It was founded in 2018 to focus on this niche of content and “to bring storytelling into life’s in-between moments.” Quibi plans to spend $1.1 billion on content in its first year, with the expected result being more than 7,000 episodes in total.
These episodes won’t be coming to a screen bigger than one you can hold in your hand, so don’t expect any Quibi content to appear at next year’s Academy Awards. You can expect around 50 original titles when the service launches on April 6, in genres ranging from horror, drama, and comedy to news, sports, and reality.
Quibi Is (Slightly) Cheaper
Compared to the basic plans for Netflix ($8.99/month) and Hulu ($5.99/month), Quibi’s monthly subscription plans are a bit cheaper but not by much. Quibi’s basic subscription provides access to all content with ads for $4.99/month. It’s three bucks more ($7.99/month) to watch Quibi without those pesky ads.
If you pre-register to download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store before it launches on April 6, you can take advantage of a 90-day free trial. Otherwise, you can sign up for a two-week free trial after the service has launched. Quibi is only available through these two mobile apps. If you’re looking for more immersive or engaging content to watch on a bigger screen, you might want to stick to a more traditional streaming service.
Given that most of this new app’s content is intended to be a premium Hollywood-budgeted replacement of content that younger viewers get for free from YouTube, Quibi’s investors and advertisers are eager to find out whether or not this new structural evolution captures a wide enough audience.
Quibi Features Big Names and Hollywood Stars
Founded by Hollywood insiders, the new platform touts a diverse range of short-form content that will appeal to most audiences. Kevin Hart, Idris Elba, Naomi Watts, and Steven Spielberg are just a few of the big names that are leading in Quibi’s advertisements. News shows cover a wide variety of topics, from gaming and fashion to sex and politics. Other offerings include game shows, cooking shows, Spanish-language shows, and Chrissy Teigen is a judge now. Also, Reno 911! is back.
Ads come in the form of unskippable pre-rolls, meaning they’ll be packaged with each episode. This makes them almost impossible to block, but at least they won’t be interrupting your already short viewing session. The ads will come exclusively from just ten corporations: Progressive, Discover, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, AB InBev, Taco Bell, Pepsi, T-Mobile, Google, and Walmart. This advertising exclusivity deal is slated to last one year before opening up to other possibly exclusive deals.
As founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said, “We’re competing against free.” Quibi isn’t looking to replace your Netflix or Hulu subscription. At a lower price point, Quibi is looking to join the list of your current subscriptions as a premium version of the shorter content you’re already watching for free. Reality TV, horror and science fiction shorts, comedy clips, documentaries, news, and commentary; Quibi wants to compete with whatever you might watch when you only have 10 minutes.
It’s not yet clear if a large enough audience exists to pay for bite-sized, ad-ridden content like Quibi. Whatever the future holds for this app, the star power behind Quibi is creating a lot of speculative buzz about the quality of traditionally undervalued short-form, mobile-only video content.