9th April 2020

POV: Quibi

Background:

Quibi, a bite sized video streaming app, launched earlier this week on iPhone and Android, initially in the UK, US and Canada.

Details and Implications:

Quibi is a new platform that is hoping to capture the ‘short-form’ corner of the streaming market. It is only available on mobile, not on OTT TV services like other well known streaming services. Quibi is also not available to use with AirPlay or Chromecast - so viewing is only possible on mobile.

Its content is a series of 7-10 minute videos in three main categories: Movies in Chapters which will tell feature length stories in bite sized videos; Unscripted and Docs which will feature the stories of many well-known celebrities and Daily Essentials which will be news updates from places like the BBC, NBC News, Weather channels and ESPN. The app’s content at launch offers a lot of big names such as Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen and there is also the promise that there will be content from celebrities including Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro in the future.

The platform launched with 3 episodes of 50 new programmes but plans are to have 175 new programmes on the service in its first year, which equates to 8500 ‘quibis’. Unlike other streaming services the majority of Quibi’s content will be home-grown.

When opened, the app has a ‘For You’ tab which has recommended shows that will play automatically. There are also Browser and Following tabs and a ‘share’ button embedded into the app to share content with your friends. You can also ‘follow’ your favourite shows and ask for notifications when the latest episodes are available. The app is pitched at users between major streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ and short-form video content like TikTok.

One of the draw factors according to Quibi is the film-making technology used, called Turnstyle, which allows a user to seamlessly shift from portrait to landscape an important element for a mobile-only app.

Quibi is offering a 90-day free trial to new users then its pricing model is $4.99 per month with non-skippable pre-roll ads and $7.99 per month without ads. This means that there will be some opportunity for brands to advertise on the platform, which is not currently possible for some other major streaming platforms. The platform has initially partnered with 10 companies for exclusive ads in the first year: Progressive, Discover, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, AB InBev, Taco Bell, Pepsi, T-Mobile, Google and Walmart. They will be able to run 6, 10 or 15 second pre-roll ads. Mid-roll ads are not available.

The app hit 300,000 downloads on its first day, which is only 7.5% of Disney+ first-day-downloads. However, as of Tuesday morning, it ranked #3 in the US App Store free apps list, following Zoom and TikTok.

Summary:

The streaming market is extremely saturated as is short-form video content market, whether there is room for another major player will be the key question.

Further Reading:

TBI | The Guardian | TechCrunch | Variety | The Verge

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