Quibi, short for “quick bites” of video, is the newest mobile video service to hit the subscription industry. Raising more than $1 billion in funding thus far, the much-anticipated startup has promised consumers the future of video, a roster of Hollywood stars and a new language of cinema.
How Does Quibi Work?
Launching on April 6, every piece of content on Quibi is designed for viewing on a smartphone, on the go, in 10 minutes or less. With a roster of videos already vetted and approved, the streaming service will cost $5 a month for the ads-included version or $8 a month for an ad-free experience. Quibi has received serious attention for its plans to create shows with big-time celebrities, like Chrissy Teigen, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lopez, along with advertisement deals with major household names like Procter & Gamble. Quibi plans to release three hours of fresh content every day in an effort to turn Quibi into a daily habit and attract new subscribers. According to Jeffrey Katzenberg, former head of Walt Disney Studios and Quibi Founder, Quibi represents the “third generation of film narrative.”
Quibi’s launch in April will be built on three different tiers of content:
- Lighthouse Productions: These are essentially movies that are broken up into several-minute chapters with releases each week. For example, a two-hour movie could take 11 chapters to play in its entirety.
- Mid-Tier Quick Bites: Featuring original content called “Quibi Series,” these quick bites come from a star-studded list of creators – including Zac Efron, Idris Elba, Kendall Jenner and Steph Curry – throughout a variety of genres.
- News-Focused Daily Essentials: Katzenberg refers to the daily essentials as the “secret sauce,” sharing high-quality, daily information from trusted sources in an effort to create daily viewing habits from users.
Creators of Quibi believe there is a place beyond YouTube and Instagram for premium content made for viewing on the go. “HBO came along in the early 1990s, when broadcast TV was at its pinnacle, and said, ‘We’re not TV, we’re HBO,’” explained Katzenberg. “They changed the form and format. They weren’t constrained by standards and practices and spent money that a broadcast network couldn’t compete with. In the same way HBO differentiated from broadcast, we are differentiated from social networks.”
Major Brand Partnerships, Advanced Technology And Original Content Sets Quibi Apart From The Rest Of The Streaming Pack
Although Katzenberg has remained adamant that Quibi is not in competition with other streaming video services, the pool of streaming options continues to grow rapidly – from the already launched Apple TV Plus, Netflix and Disney+ to the upcoming HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock – giving consumers a variety of options to choose from. Katzenberg was recently quoted saying, “We don’t think we’re in the streaming wars. They’re all battling for this,” he said pointing toward a TV in the room. “We’re going for this,” he proclaimed, gesturing toward his phone.
Katzenberg later went on to say, “We’re competing against free. We have to offer something that is meaningfully, measurably, quantifiably, creatively different.”
Quibi has taken several steps in order to solidify itself as one of a kind in a sea of streaming services. To start, Quibi finalized a partnership with T-Mobile that will include Quibi as part of the phone company’s offering to customers. Quibi also shared the news that it is tapping into Google’s advanced technology to help ensure a seamless experience for Quibi’s video streams.
While Quibi will also rely heavily on user experience and content designed specifically for mobile as two main differentiators for the business, Turnstyle (Quibi’s signature technology) is the main feature the company is banking on to set it apart from everything else on the market.
Turnstyle lets users switch between portrait and landscape video instantly when they rotate their phones. Katzenberg claims Turnstyle is “unlike anything creators have had before.” To break it down: a user can rotate their phone while watching a show on Quibi in order to get a different point of view, as every show and advertisement on Quibi is filmed and edited in both portrait and landscape. The idea of Turnstyle is to allow the viewer to feel like they’re holding the TV character’s phone in real life.
Quibi Sets Its Advertising Sights On Millennials
Quibi has made it known their primary target audience is Millennials. The biggest marketing challenge Quibi will face will be explaining to this demographic what exactly Quibi is, and why they should subscribe to this new service in addition to – or instead of – Netflix, Disney+ or any of the other services many Millennials are subscribed to. Quibi is capitalizing on the benefits of major social media platforms and digital marketing in order to reach Millennials, as most of this younger demographic are already spending mass amounts of time on smartphones.
"You fish for where the fish are," Katzenberg said. "The social-media platforms today, which is where people are in fact spending a good deal of time, is where the biggest focus of our marketing will be. And that's where we'll be spending most of our money."
"They [advertisers] also believe that the next big revolution in entertainment really should be on the mobile phone, so the idea about creating and commissioning shows uniquely designed for mobile is super interesting to them," said Meg Whitman, Quibi CEO.
If successful, Quibi could significantly change the distribution method of high-quality productions. And the streaming company is aware of this potential for change, as Quibi is paying as much as $6 million an hour for long-form narrative content. Quibi is also showcasing its investment in advertising, with the company stating in October that Quibi had already booked $150 million in ads, filling out the platform's first year of inventory before the launch has even taken place.
As people continue to spend more and more time on their mobile phones and Quibi continues to invest the majority of its ad buys in digital, the streaming service is set to experience an even stronger demand for its content, and simultaneously open up more ad opportunities for digital marketers.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Carolyn Harding