Sat. Jun 6th, 2020

What the heck is Quibi, and why should you care? (Update: More new shows)

Quibi has added even more new series to its lineup, including a new series, #FreeRayshawn, that stars Laurence Fishburne.

Quibi streaming app on Android smartphone stock photo 3

Update, April 13, 2020: Quibi has just added a number of new scripted and unscripted shows to its lineup:

  • The Stranger
  • #FreeRayshawn
  • 50 States of Fright
  • Agua Donkeys
  • Elba vs. Block
  • Let’s Roll with Tony Greenhand
  • Fight Like a Girl

You can find out more about these shows and all of the other upcoming Quibi shows on our feature page.

Original article, March 22, 2020 (12 AM ET): Until just a few months ago, the word “Quibi” was used mostly by entertainment business media outlets. Now, we are less than a month away from the launch of the new service. So what is Quibi? Simply put, it’s a streaming service with all original content that hopes to make itself stand out from Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and others in a few interesting ways.

The big question: Will this service stand out from the many, many established streaming services? Let’s take a look at everything we know so far about Quibi?

So, what is Quibi?

Quibi is an upcoming streaming service that is aiming to appeal to the growing media audience that just watches TV shows on their smartphones and tablets. It will offer a mix of original scripted and non-scripted series, plus daily shows as well.

What the heck does “Quibi” mean, anyway?

The name of the service is supposed to be a mashup of “Quick Bites”, which may give you a bit of a clue for what the company is offering to its customers.

Who founded the service?

The company was launched by two well-known executives; one comes from the entertainment industry while the other has a history in running tech companies. The founder and Chairman of Quibi is Jeffrey Katzenberg, who helped to turn around Disney’s animation division in the 1980s and 1990s. He later co-founded Dreamworks and headed up its Dreamworks Animation division. The CEO of Quibi is Meg Whitman.  Before her current job, she was the CEO of eBay and later became the CEO of HP.

Under their leadership, the Wall Street Journal says that Quibi has already raised a total of $1.75 billion from outside investors before the official launch.

What platforms will Quibi be available?

quibi screenshots

The service is designed to be a mobile-only experience. That means it will launch just for iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets. That also means that it won’t be natively available for Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Android TV set-top boxes, or smart TVs. The same applies for game consoles.

What does the mobile-only experience mean for users?

Besides ignoring the smart TV and set-top box devices, the mobile-only experience for Quibi will utilize two major features that make the service different than the others. One is that the “series” that will be streamed will have episodes of 10 minutes or less.  That means original Quibi scripted and unscripted series will have a “season” that overall will be the length of a standard feature film.

Read also: Quibi review: Is this bite-sized Netflix rival worth it?

The other major feature of the service is that the streaming shows can be viewed in both portrait and landscape modes on smartphones and tablets.  In fact, you can switch between the two viewing modes on the fly while you watch a Quibi show. The creators of those series have re-edited their video so they work in portrait mode along with the more popular landscape mode.

When and where will Quibi launch?

On April 6, Quibi launched, and while it is officially said to focus on the US and Canada, it is available in many other countries, including Europe and the UK, India, Asia, and Australia. We don’t have word on availability for every country but so far haven’t found that the app is unavailable.

What will the service cost?

Quibi will have two subscription tiers. The first, which will show ads before the start of each video, will cost $4.99 a month. You can do away with ads with the more expensive tier, which will cost $7.99 a month.

In Europe, the pricing is only for an ad-free tier at 8,99 €/month, once the 90-day trial has ended.

Can I get the service for free?

Yes, you can. Quibi is currently offering a way to get three months of the service when it launches for free, until April 30. It’s a full 90-day trial on offer.

Also, the company has partnered with T-Mobile to offer free service with a T-Mobile plan. For more information, take a look at our “Quibi for free” article.

What can I watch on Quibi when it begins on April 6?

The service will launch with a total of 50 scripted, unscripted and daily series for the launch day on April 6. They include shows like a new version of the short story Most Dangerous Game with Liam Hemsworth, a comedy about flipping houses and Mexican drug cartels with Will Forte, and revival of the classic MTV series Punk’d. You can also watch a number of daily news series from sources like the BBC, NBC News, ESPN and more.

In the weeks and months to come, you can expect to see reboots of series like Reno 911 and The Fugitive, shows from Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro, and much much more. You can take a look at the shows that will be available on launch day, along with all the upcoming series, at our dedicated Quibi shows page.

Other Quibi features

Quibi shows can be downloaded by subscribers for watching while their smartphone or tablet is offline. The service streams at up to 1080p resolution, but you can reduce the stream to standard resolution if you are under a limited data plan. Unfortunately, the service only supports one concurrent stream at a time on one account.

Can this service survive the streaming wars?

On the one hand, Quibi’s decision to just focus on the mobile user, and to only create shows with episodes of 10 minutes or less, would seem to be a step back. After all, lots of people stream content on their big screen televisions and they have no problems with binge-watching TV episodes of 35 minutes, 45 minutes or even longer.

On the other hand, it’s very true that the audience for watching short-form content on their form is growing as well. That’s mainly due to the influence of YouTube over the years. The big question? Will those same people pay for content? As always, it always comes to how good the content will be on Quibi. Some of the shows do sound very promising, but will it be worth $4.99 a month? That remains to be seen.

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