Why it matters: There’s a lot on the line for Quibi, and not just in terms of investors’ money. If successful, the platform could influence how content is produced and distributed for the foreseeable future. Should it go bust, well, it’d just be another forgettable name on a growing list of failed online video subscription services to meet a similar fate.
Quibi, the short-form video streaming platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman that you’ve likely seen in heavy ad rotation over the past few weeks, launched on Monday. It did so without the star-studded premiere party the duo originally planned – canceled due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak – but the show must go on, as the saying goes.
Quibi got its start in the summer of 2018 and was revealed to the public a few months later. Since then, all Katzenberg and Whitman have done is raise nearly $1.8 billion in funding and attract some of the industry’s biggest players to make content for the service.
Short for “quick bites,” Quibi provides content designed specifically for consumption on mobile devices in either landscape or portrait orientation. Content will be consumable in short chunks, with the typical episode or chapter not lasting longer than 10 minutes.
Katzenberg and Whitman originally pitched the service as something you’d rely on while waiting in line at Starbucks or while on the subway. With the ongoing Coronavirus forcing swaths of people to stay indoors, however, the service instead finds itself going up against established players like Netflix and Hulu in the home.
Even still, Whitman isn’t concerned.
“Think about how often you use your phone when you’re homebound,” Whitman said. “People who are home with their children would really like a 10-minute break.”
Quibi is free to try for the first three months. After that, pricing starts at $4.99 per month.