Quibi is a new $8/month streaming video service that lives entirely on your phone – is it any good?
Short shows for our short attention spans.
Quibi, short for “Quick Bites,” is the short-form streaming service aiming to piggyback on the shortened attention spans of modern life. See, it’s great to have lots of long TV shows but do you have time to watch them all once your backlog fills up? Quibi’s episodes run at ten minutes or less, letting you chop up even movies into easy chunks to fit around your life.
I admit, it’s a compelling proposition to me. I rarely get the chance to fully watch anything nowadays, and even if I do, it’s in short chunks over several days with rewinding sections to remind me what the plot is. Quibi might actually fix my issues with TV watching, and there are a few cool tricks the mobile-focused platform has. Which, it is important to note, Quibi is only currently available on iOS and Android.
One of the coolest tricks is serving you slightly different versions of the shows depending on if you’re watching in landscape mode or portrait. One way is to show the cinematic shot in landscape, but then switching to the shot captured by the smartphone in the show’s character’s hand. It’s pretty mental, and it shows that there’s a whole world of innovation in storytelling that’s largely been ignored until now.
Here’s Quibi by the numbers:
- $7.99 per month (or $4.99 if you don’t mind ads)
- 90-day free trial, or a full year if you’re a T-Mobile customer
- 50 shows on launch day (yes, that’s today, April 6)
- 175 shows with 8,500 episodes by the end of year 1
- Each episode clocks in at ten minutes or less
- $1.1 billion dollars invested in new, original content by the end of year 1
While launching a bite-sized streaming service might seem like odd timing with the current pandemic situation, I wouldn’t bet against Quibi’s founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg. He chaired Walt Disney Studios through most of its biggest hits, and was a co-founder of Dreamworks Animation, bringing classics like Shrek to our screens. If anyone can make an original form streaming service work, it’s him.
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