If you had asked me just two months ago about the prospects of a new streaming service, chances are I would think your money could be better spent somewhere else.
We live in a new saturated market of streaming where every entertainment entity wants to upload their content for the masses at a monthly cost. With Netflix serving as the father model, Disney +, Amazon Video, Hulu and the upcoming HBO Max and Peacock are proving that streaming is the new cable and if you aren’t watching your entertainment online, what are you doing?
But as this market gets more popular, the harder it is to be the new guy. It’s the thought to the consumer of one more subscription and one more dimension of endless choices – how will another player succeed in such a competitive and overwhelming field?
Answer: filling a need entertainment consumers didn’t think they had.
Answer (Part 2): Quibi.
It has come to my standstill boredom throughout this period of quarantine to realize just how much a streaming service like Quibi could be a quiet success.
For those who don’t know yet, Quibi is a new entertainment streaming app launching April 6 created by CEO Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg – the former chairman at Walt Disney Studios who took the giant to its golden age throughout the 1990s.
Aimed to be the streaming service made for your phone, this app will be the antithesis to traditionalists in the movie and TV industry but is on the cutting edge for where our digital era is headed.
Made for the in-between and on-the-go moments, series on Quibi are aimed to be digestible bits of entertainment that can be over and done in 10 minutes or less.
Waiting for a table at a busy restaurant, taking rides in an Uber, waiting for your nails to dry, or sitting in the DMV can be over in a “quibi,” as the hopeful service has advertised themselves.
When I saw Quibi marketed for the first time during the Super Bowl I thought: do people really need to be stimulated all the time that we want something like this?
As COVID-19 has shown us, yeah. Maybe we do.
Having a product launch in the middle of a pandemic would be a nightmare for anyone, but for Quibi, the dependency for on-demand entertainment might be a climate that can nurture something this risky.
Setting themselves apart from any other streaming service before it, Quibi has managed to combine the best parts of entertainment while keeping costs down for consumers. Giving newcomers a 90-day free trial before a monthly fee of $5/month ($8/month to go ad-free), subscribers will have access in the first year to about 7,000 pieces of content and 50 different shows on its April 6 launch date.
And the content is star-S-T-U-D-D-E-D.
Those who have signed contracts or have already created shows for launch include: Steven Spielberg, LeBron James, Liam Hemsworth, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Tyra Banks, Chance The Rapper, Sophie Turner, Kevin Hart, Kiefer Sutherland, Idris Elba, “The Bachelor’s” Tyler Cameron, and dozens more.
Following a recent trend of revivals, Quibi is set to target Gen Zers and Millennials with a new “Punk’d” hosted by Chance The Rapper – originally made famous on MTV with Ashton Kutcher – and throwback game shows like “Legends of the Hidden Temple” – as found on Nickelodeon. Other genres in both scripted and unscripted shows include new takes on old favorites like The Fugitive, Most Dangerous Game, and How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days. There’s even going to be a show about building dog houses – finally!
So far, Quibi has spent over $2 billion cultivating their brand and creating content. Trying to create a new medium that finds itself between television and film, it’s the creators’ hope that Quibi can be a launching pad for writers and artists, not the end game.
Where a lot of companies can buy creative rights to content with little room for creators to negotiate, Katzenberg is making Quibi flexible. After an initial agreement of two years of exclusivity on the platform, creators can then sell their projects to other sites or companies as an entire entity rather than chopped, 10-minute segments. A deal like this in Hollywood is almost unheard of.
But what makes Quibi the next big thing is the ability to create real-time-entertainment where we haven’t seen it yet.
With the power of geofencing seen in real-time and experiential marketing, Quibi has the ability to create two-way experiences in entertainment. Already projected for Steven Spielberg’s horror series, episodes are planned to be released only after sunset – dependent on the subscriber’s location – opening up other creative ways for storytellers to get consumers to experience content.
There are a number of challenges that the service will face in an unprecedented time like this, but I, like Katzenberg, am optimistic.
In a situation where people are stuck at home, mostly on their phones, and have access to new content – free of charge – for 90 days? It only takes 21 to create a habit. It’s not going to take long at all for me to crave a daily newsreel to start my day, watch my favorite show during my commute, or anticipate an experience I can get only when the sun’s gone down.
It’s most likely going to become a part of day-to-day life, and it might for you.