Quibi is Offering Something Impressive, But Does Anyone Want It?
The world loves Chrissy Teigen, but Quibi is not going to be able to promote the service based on intermittent interest in a sea of middling content
Quibi, the streaming startup headed by Meg Whitman and Jeffery Katzenberg, is set to launch in April. In short, Quibi aims to develop extremely high-quality video (think Game of Thrones) that will be distributed on mobile devices. The content will be delivered in short episodes, likely under 20 minutes. In many cases, episodes will eventually be stitched together into longer pieces of content. It will be a subscription service, so you’ll have to pay to see what Quibi has to offer.
Quibi put their PR campaign into overdrive at CES, the tech expo that occurred earlier this month. Whitman and Katzenberg gave a keynote presentation, talked with reporters, and showed demos of the service in action. They further articulated Quibi’s mobile-first experience, which hinges on its “Turnstyle” viewing format (more on that in a bit). They announced that they had raised an additional $400 million, which adds to the $1 billion they had already raised.
This is unimportant, but since I’m writing about Quibi, I must tell you that the name Quibi is short for “Quick Bites”, as in “quick bites” of content. This is not something that Quibi should be telling people. Instead they should say the name was “just something they came up with”. At first, I liked the name. Using a Q is a power move. It doesn’t have a “plus” or “+” in it which is, counterintuitively, a plus. But now that I know that Quibi is short for “Quick Bites”, I have decided that I hate the name.
Quibi announced that they’re set to launch in April with 175 new shows. I’m sorry, excuse me? 175 new shows? According to FX’s annual study, there were 532 total scripted shows in 2019. Now, that doesn’t include reality TV. While some of Quibi’s shows will be reality TV, but even taking that into consideration this means that a significant percentage of all scripted shows will be from just one service.