If you are a Quibi investor how worried are you right now? Quibi raised 1.8 billion since its inception back in 2018 but manages to launch its “on-the-go” streaming app at the absolute worst possible time. I maybe not be the target audience here but I really can’t see Quibi being a success, even if it had launched in a better climate. I maybe completely out of touch though as I had to watch clips the old fashioned way as my phone was to old and not compatible with the service. I maybe should get a new phone I certainly am overdue but I really am just not into phones. I mean I should be, I love tech in general but phones have not been interesting in a long time, for me at least.
Quibi features a mix of scripted, partially scripted, reality shows and improv. I am unclear on how or where Quibi is suppose to fit into a market that is already extremely saturated. YouTube is basically your favorite average Joe that you choose to watch market you their latest sponsors crap. Cable and satellite tv have been struggling for years to come up with ways to reskin old ideas as they have failed to find new ideas. If you are like many and have cut the cable and only stream your content the landscape isn’t much better there as everything is rehashed and reskinned, even that edgy new show you love is likely a fresh reskin of a Star Trek episode from the 60’s.
We have become over eaters of content, soaking up every last drop but at what cost? I am very interested in following Quibi to see if it is something that is here to stay or if its going to crash and burn. If I am in fact the minority and people will pay the $4.99 USD a month to watch 10 minute episodes of their new favorite “show”on their phone. In Canada the monthly fee for Quibi is $6.99 which is an even harder sell here as that is almost the cost of a Netflix basic plan.
Quibi has gotten some star power on board to help their platform get off the ground. Reese Witherspoon has a nature show called Fierce Queens which looked like your typical nature show but with pop music in the background? LeBron James has a show about the inner city school he built. Liam Hemsworth has a show called The Most Dangerous Game, with the premise being that he needs money for some sort of operation or surgery and winds up being hunted all over the city for 24 hours in exchange for 24 million dollars. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) has a show called Survive. She survives a plane crash that lands in the mountains and they need to climb down the mountain to safety. Those are a few of the ones I checked out.
The idea of watching your favorite show in 10 minute chunks as you are on the go may sound good on the surface until you think about how we already watch our content. In a world of binge watchers I feel like Quibi has gone the wrong way. Cutting the shows into 10 minute chunks for me is a step in the wrong direction. I would expect the opposite to work better, the day time soap opera approach for example seems like it would be a better fit for our binging habits.
Quibi is offering a 3 month trial to everyone who signs up before April 20th so you can try it out for yourself and see if the 10 minute episode format is for you. I wonder if the 90 day trial was part of the original plan or are they hoping the climate dramatically improves before the 90 day trial is up and life has returned to normal. Either way we are all stuck at home with more free time to get hooked on the shiny new app.