Quibi is the hot new streaming app made exclusively for mobile phones. It is designed for short-form entertainment and founded by DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg who has attracted big-name filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Steven Soderbergh.
If you’ve followed Katzenberg’s career, you know he never does anything small – $1 billion in finance to be precise – so it’s probably worth checking Quibi out. But what is this exciting new app all about and how exactly do we use it?
“Quibi” stands for “quick bites” – that is, very short-form content that is easily consumable in one sitting. The shows are designed for millennials, the social media generation.
Like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, it will provide original content but instead of presenting feature-length films or episodes that generally run around an hour or two hours long, Quibi specializing in content built for quick consumption. Quibi’s episodes are ten minutes or less and movies are broken down into chapters that act more like episodes.
These episodes won’t likely be coming to a screen bigger than your mobile device – at least any time soon – so don’t expect any Quibi content to appear at next year’s Academy Awards. But depending on how successful the platform is, Quibi will likely try to expand and experiment with other forms of storytelling.
How Much Does It Cost?
The app has two payment tiers, $4.99/ a month with short ads, and $7.99/ a month without them. At the moment, you can get a 90-day free trial if you sign up by April 30.
Ads come in the form of unskippable pre-rolls, kind of like what you find on YouTube. This makes them almost impossible to block with an adblocker, but at least they won’t be interrupting your viewing session. It’s likely, down the road, Quibi will do in-stream ads as the platform becomes more popular but at the moment it’s only an educated guess.
What Devices Does Quibi Work On?
The app is designed to be watched only on mobile, which means you can’t watch Quibi on a tablet, computer or television, at least for the foreseeable future. At first, Quibi executives said they would work on a TV component later on, but it looks like they’re sticking to an app format for the time being. Whether they stick with this strategy or not, remains to be seen.
To do this, they hired people from Instagram and Snapchat. They two apps have pioneered short-form content on their platforms through IGTV and Snap Originals. Quibi’s chief product officer is Tom Conrad, formerly Snap’s VP of product.
How Much Does Quibi Cost?
The mobile-only format allows Quibi to experiment with form. It supports both horizontal and vertical video and allows its users to switch between the two in the same video with its unique “Turnstyle” technology, just by turning your phone to either side.
While it may not seem like much, it’s actually remarkable that they’ve been able to master this technology, whereas Instagram and Snapchat have not. When you rotate Instagram and Snapcat you get awkward blank spaces or large parts of the video are cut off. Not so with Quibi.
It’s not yet clear if a large enough audience exists to pay for bite-sized, ad-ridden content like Quibi. One of the main questions is whether it can beat Youtube at its own game – and get people to pay for subscription. Whatever the future holds for this app, the star power behind Quibi is creating a lot of buzz about the quality of traditionally undervalued short-form, mobile-only video content and the future of storytelling.
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