Quibi is the New Streaming Service on the Block
In recent years, more and more companies and brands have been creating their own streaming platforms. YouTube and Netflix have existed for some time, and Hulu has found itself as a leader in the streaming world. Even last year, Disney released its own streaming platform, Disney+, which hit 50 million subscribers five months after its debut. Later this month, HBO Max will release, providing subscribers with classic and original content.
The most recent streaming platform to hit the internet recently is Quibi. The streaming platform prides itself on providing “movie-quality shows designed for your phone,” with new episodes dropping daily. Quibi released on April 6. With so many streaming platforms already established and even more on the way, what separates Quibi from the rest?
The way audiences consume media has changed drastically over the years. No longer are viewers consuming TV shows through appointment viewing, waiting each week to watch a new episode. Not all movies are debuting in theaters. Some hit streaming platforms exclusively, allowing you to watch them from the comfort of your own home. Companies recognized this trend and have attempted to capitalize on it.
As with any new technology and digital trend, Tech Critic remains committed to staying up to date on all things new in digital media. With Quibi’s recent debut, we’re going to take a deeper look at what Quibi is.
What is Quibi?
Quibi is a brand-new streaming platform founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Former eBay and Hewlett-Packard boss, Meg Whitman, serves as the company’s chief executive officer. In 2018, Katzenberg once stated, “You leave the house every morning with a little TV in your pocket. It’s called your smartphone.” He went on to say, “During the day, you have these in-between moments. Ten minutes here, 15 minutes there, where you want to see something great.”
Katzenberg aims to reinvent how audiences consume media. Quibi offers subscribers “quick bites” of content, and its episodes are ten minutes or less. The platform provides both scripted and unscripted content. The types of content offered on this new streaming platform include:
- Movies in Chapters: These films will be split up into chapters, similar to TV shows
- Unscripted and Docs: Short documentaries or ongoing series, such as the revived Punk’d
- Daily Essentials: These essentials include news, sports, pop culture, motivation, cooking, and more lifestyle content
While it does appear that these episodes do seem like movies, Katzenberg likes to think of them as a new form of content, sitting somewhere between film and TV.
The founders of Quibi plan to spend over $1 billion over the first year, expecting to drop over 7,000 episodes over several different shows.
There are no plans for content produced for Quibi to end up on the big screen. These episodes are meant for screens no bigger than ones that fit in your hand, allowing you to watch them in portrait or landscape mode. Additionally, Quibi is cheaper than most streaming platforms, starting at $4.99 a month with ads and going to $7.99 a month without ads.
Changing Media Consumption
Jeffrey Katzenberg and the entire Quibi team must have been paying attention to how audiences consume media in the digital age. We quoted Katzenberg early, saying how people have a tiny TV in their pockets virtually all day. These smartphones connect users to a plethora of content, covering varying issues and genres.
Katzenberg may have been on to something when he and the rest of the Quibi team designed the streaming platform specifically for use on mobile devices. After all, according to Hootsuite’s Digital 2020 Global Overview Report, there are over 5.19 billion mobile phone users across the world. Within the same report, Hootsuite also states that over half of all time spent on the internet occurs via mobile devices.
It seems that the attention span of viewers is diminishing, as well. The average audience’s attention span sits around 7-10 minutes if it’s a topic of interest. If the audience perceives the content as boring or is not engaged in it, you can lose them in seconds. Since Quibi’s episodes are so short, it’s much easier to gain and hold a viewer’s attention throughout the entirety of an episode.
As audiences shift to mobile devices to consume media and viewer’s attention spans have decreased, Quibi appears to have cracked the code. But how well has the new streaming platform performed in the month since its debut?
Quibi’s short-form style is bolstered by household names and superstars within Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including Kevin Hart, Idris Elba, Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg, and more. With a format designed specifically for mobile use with the support of established stars, one would assume that Quibi would be a success. However, the platform has not experienced this expected success.
In the first week after its debut, Quibi hit over 1.7 million downloads. However, it quickly fell out of Apple Store’s 50 most downloaded free apps. Katzenberg initially predicted that the platform would reach seven million users within its first year, but that prediction seems unlikely. The platform currently only has roughly 1.3 million active users, which pales in comparison to fellow streaming newcomer Disney+’s 50 million users. What makes matters worse is that most of Quibi’s users are utilizing the 90-day free trial.
In a time where people are streaming more than ever, Quibi seems to be struggling. And Katzenberg places blame on the current pandemic that currently plagues the planet. For a platform designed for quick and easy media consumption while on the go, COVID-19 has kept people inside. Most other streaming services are offered across multiple platforms, while Quibi is merely used on mobile devices. While Katzenberg hoped that people would still find in-between moments to consume their content, they haven’t occurred too often.
Quibi is the most recent in a long line of streaming platforms to hit the market. Its premise seemed to set it up for success, but current situations and changing consumer behavior has stunted its growth. As more companies and technologies hit the scene, Tech Critic eagerly watches to see how audiences accept and interact with them, especially during this current pandemic.