Quibi arrives as COVID has shut down most entertainment production.
Founded in 2018, Quibi is an American short-form mobile video platform headquartered in Los Angeles, California.
Led by former chair of The Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HPE CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi is not only a grand experiment in mobile-first streaming, but the first major tech launch to be held amid the coronavirus pandemic. Quibi serves up “quick bites” of video from news and docuseries to feature films. Its signature “Turnstyle” tech lets you rotate the orientation of your phone without interrupting the video. Quibi had raised $1.8 billion even before launching this week. Its intention is to cater to Gen Z and millennials, and it already has 50 shows ready featuring names like Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, and JLo.
The coronavirus has shut down most entertainment production, but Quibi has elbow-bumped itself to the front of the line after stockpiling content last fall over fears of a writers’ strike. Meg Whitman told Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast that they’ve got enough programming to last through mid-September.
Now for the downside: consumer awareness of Quibi is pretty low, and the platform doesn’t have a Jim Halpert fans will follow anywhere. YouTube and TikTok are free.
Whitman and Katzenberg wanted Quibi to fill those 10-minute breaks that pop up throughout your day, like waiting for a subway to arrive or for your CVS receipt to finish printing. Even with quarantines in place, Whitman thinks people will need small pockets of time to decompress.
One big advantage for Quibi moving forward is that consumers are spending a lot more time streaming: