Ask Answers: Is Quibi’s “Quick Bite” Streaming Service Worth Your Time?
If you watched the Super Bowl this year — or scoured YouTube for the best of the big game’s commercials afterward — you probably remember an ad for Quibi. However, like a Geico commercial that’s gotten out of hand, you probably didn’t quite register what was actually being advertised. If you fall into the confused portion of the audience, let us clear things up.
Founded in 2018 by former Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi is a streaming service that’s led by CEO Meg Whitman — yes, of Hewlett Packard Enterprise fame. According to the folks at Quibi, the service is aimed at a younger demographic with its content being delivered in the form of short, 10-minute episodes called "quick bites," hence the platform’s goofy-sounding name. After raising $1 billion in funding from major investors like The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and others, Quibi commissioned a slew of original content — 8,500 quick bites (or episodes) and over 175 shows — for its first year.
Months after the muddled, star-packed Super Bowl ads, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Quibi was finally launched on April 6, 2020. Deadline reported that, in its first day, Quibi was installed by 300,000 users across Apple and Android devices, which isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t Disney+’s 4 million launch-day installs. In fact, in its first week Quibi reached 1.7 million downloads, according to Whitman. So, is the quirky platform just experiencing a slow start, or is the lack of user enthusiasm symptomatic of the platform’s larger issues?
What Makes Quibi Different?
Most video-streaming platforms try to optimize content so that it can be viewed on televisions, desktops or mobile devices. Quibi, however, has made the conscious decision to produce its content specifically for mobile devices only. This means users can shift between horizontal and vertical video orientations. And, as we mentioned above, Quibi trades half-hour TV episodes and two-hour films for shows delivered in "quick bite" chapters of 10 minutes or less.
Quibi in the Era of the Novel Coronavirus
Not only does Quibi’s distinct lack of interactivity pose a problem for its content’s longevity, but it also poses a problem for what viewers want right now amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With social distancing and shelter-in-place directives ongoing, folks are looking for ways to virtually connect with friends and family now more than ever.