Perfect timing and a trend towards short-form content have helped smartphone content app Quibi to reach almost 2 million downloads during its launch week.
Cinemas in most countries are currently empty due to the lockdowns triggered by the COVID-19 global health emergency, but audiences’ hunger for filmed content is reaching new heights. Streaming services are seeing spikes in subscriber numbers, content-driven social platforms like TikTok are on the rise, and the appeal of short-form videos of the type popularised on YouTube continues to drive content production to eschew longer-format work in many instances.
Against this backdrop, industry heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg founded the short-form video streaming service Quibi, which is headed by CEO Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard fame. He bills the service as the Netflix of mobiles, which is somewhat curious, since I’m sure Netflix also considers itself to be the Netflix of mobile. That said, short-form content does seem particularly well suited to viewing on smaller devices, so the idea of avoiding the licensing of major motion pictures and switching focus to the production and presentation of original, short-form content may establish Quibi as a niche leader.
“I’m not that smart. I’ve just seen things that have worked.”
In the week since its debut on the Android and iOS platforms, Quibi has chalked up more than 1.7 million downloads, placing it among the ten most downloaded apps on each platform.
Content so far spans three primary categories – those being scripted, unscripted and news/events. Each piece of content is under 10 minutes in length, keeping even dramatic serials bite-sized and well suited to consumption during bus trips, homework breaks and while eating snacks, which seems to be this app’s sweet point. Headline stars of some of the launch content include Sophie Turner (pictured), Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz.
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