On April 6, the already congested online video space gained a new competitor with the launch of Quibi. Short for ‘quick bites’, Quibi will focus on short videos that can be consumed on a smartphone, with content including movies split up into chapters that are between seven and 10 minutes long, unscripted shows, documentaries, and news and entertainment round-ups.
The company is helmed by former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg, a US film producer and former chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, but has already faced a significant amount of criticism from individuals who fail to see the demand for yet another video-streaming service.
The app has already faced a significant amount of criticism from individuals who fail to see the demand for yet another video-streaming service
The makers of Quibi believe there is space for a platform that offers high production values in easily digestible formats. “[YouTube] is the most ubiquitous, democratised, incredibly creative platform,” Whitman told TechCrunch in January. “But they make content for hundreds of dollars a minute. We make it for $100,000 a minute. It’s a whole different level — it’s Hollywood-quality content.”
From launch, Quibi has 50 shows available, including originals starring Hollywood actors Sophie Turner and Liam Hemsworth. The California-based company has promised to release a new movie every other Monday and has committed to hosting 8,500 episodes across 175 shows in its first year. The service comes with a free 90-day trial before users will be charged $7.99 a month.
The online video space is certainly competitive. As well as the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ offering big-budget releases, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok deliver short-form, often user-generated content. In the current climate, it will take some time before it can be said with certainty whether Quibi will become another industry mainstay.
The coronavirus pandemic is certainly not helping matters, forcing many to give up their daily commute, which surely would have been the perfect testing ground for Quibi’s shorter bursts of content.