When I saw this week’s theme of “Streaming Wars”, I couldn’t help but immediately think of Quibi. The new mobile streaming app Quibi, short for “quick bits”, hit the app store on April 6th claiming to offer subscribers “big stories” all under 10 minutes. Though I don’t see it as much of a conscience, Quibi launching in the middle of a mass quarantine seems like an opportune time for getting your market’s attention. Spending $500 million on adverstiing leading up to it's launch, Quibi reached over 2.7 million downloads its first two weeks
Claiming to release over 175 programs in its first year, Quibi is setting out to give unique viewing experiences. Offering everything from drama, reality, to daily news, Quibi is going all out when it comes to content. Featuring countless heavy-hitters in the entertainment industry, Quibi has even paired up with Steven Spielberg to create a horror series which will only be available to view at night. There are several programs that look quite promising as far as production, including Most Dangerous Game and Survive. The service is also offering itself up as a platform for TV show reboots, like the popular comedy series Reno 911 and Punk’d, now hosted by Chance the Rapper. Even with the production value on its side, the service is releasing more questionable programming, like a Judge Judy style court show featuring Chrissy Teigen (Chrissy's Court) and an odd series about a sex doll starring Anna Kendrick (Dummy).
As our need for content exponentially increases, Quibi capitalizes on our supposedly decreasing attention span. This service has the possibility to change the way we consume, view, and interact with our entertainment media, broadening the landscape of mobile streaming. Even though Nielson is now reporting that people are spending more time on their phones than viewing television, I’m still not sold on the idea that mobile streaming is the future. Netflix reported earlier this year that they will be spending $17.2 billion on original content in 2020, potentially giving them even more leverage in the "streaming war". Quibi has the appeal of newness and content, but does it really stand a chance in a potentially over-saturated streaming market?
When thinking about Quibi and the future of mobile streaming services, it’s important to ask a few questions. What is the potential impact of a platform like this on our viewing habits? Does watching HQ content on mobile devices lessen the viewing experience? Can people take a streaming service seriously with a name like “Quibi”?
It still may be too soon to tell.