WTF is Quibi? A bold bet on short-form streaming10.04.2020
id=»article-body» class=»row» section=»article-body»> Chrissy’s Court, a courtroom reality show in the style of Judge Judy (but starring Chrissy Teigen), is one of Quibi’s launch titles. Quibi Quibi, a mobile-only subscription video service set to launch Monday in the US, has been pumping up the hype for months. It has the backing of all the major Hollywood studios. A seemingly endless litany of film, TV, music and sports stars are making shows. And it’s raised $1.75 billion to fund its ultra-expensive short-form videos and to pay for splashy marketing like a Super Bowl ad.
Quibi is ramping up in the middle of a wave of new streaming services, as tech and media giants all rush to be the one shaping the future of video. But that means Quibi will be competing for your subscription dollars against heavy-duty upstarts like Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Peacock and HBO Max, as well as established players like Netflix. And, of course, Quibi faces a Goliath in YouTube, the short-video OG that already draws in more than 2 billion viewers every month. But Quibi believes its unconventional strategy — very expensive, star-packed programming released in 10-minute-or-less episodes that you can watch only on mobile devices like your phone — will hit a sweet spot. Quibi would be a risky bet even in normal times.
But it’s also launching in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease known as COVID-19, has upended the status quo around the world, locking down whole cities and states, overwhelming health care systems and shutting down entire industries. Hollywood is no exception: Movie theaters are shuttered, film and television productions are on hold and big-budget films are being delayed months.
Survive, a drama starring Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner, is one of Quibi’s short-form shows planned to stream at launch. Quibi People can watch Quibi at home, sure, but Quibi’s bet on exclusively mobile, short-form video was based on the premise that people would gobble up these «quick bite» episodes throughout their day while on the go. But coronavirus containment measures have locked millions of people inside their homes in the US, stifling how much people are out and about. Quibi is run by two high-profile executives, one Hollywood mogul and another tech veteran.
Quibi’s founder is Jeffrey Katzenberg, who ran Disney’s movie division in the ’80s and ’90s and co-founded Dreamworks Animation, responsible for hit franchises like Shrek and Kung-Fu Panda. Quibi’s CEO is Meg Whitman, the former chief of eBay and Hewlett-Packard. Katzenberg has said the coronavirus’s effect on people’s viewing habits isn’t necessarily an advantage or a disadvantage for Quibi, it’s just different. Some of the service’s daily news and lifestyle programming has had to figure out different ways to create their shows in keeping with social distancing, but almost all of them will still be able to deliver their programming for launch. CNET Daily News Stay in the know.
Get the latest tech stories from CNET News every weekday. And Quibi has recruited a who’s who of stars to work on its programming, including Chrissy Teigen, Lebron James, Dwayne Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Chance the Rapper, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Idris Elba, Zac Efron, Tina Fey, Liam Hemsworth and husband-and-wife combo Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner (but on different shows), along with a bazillion others.
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