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Quibi: The New Streaming Platform Rival Netflix? 

Backed by Jennifer Lopez, Steven Spielberg and Idris Elba, Quibi is Hollywood’s new obsession you’ve probably never heard of

Emma Firth | 20.11.2019

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Another day, another new streaming platform. While we had just got used to the fact Apple TV+ had arrived to shake up our duvet days, there’s huge buzz surrounding a new service coming to a pocket-sized screen near you soon. Say hello to Quibi (pronounced kwih-bee); a mobile-centric, short-form streaming-video platform, launching in April 2020. With a lot of $$$ behind it and a casting call that reads like a Who’s Who in Hollywood.

Founded by former Disney and DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, the name of the service stands for “quick bites” of video. The concept being that videos will be no longer than 10 minutes long, with original dramas, comedies, thrillers and more presented in short episodic chapters.

Quibi is launching in April 2020

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Every day, it seems another big-name talent is jumping onboard the Quibi bandwagon. Steven Spielberg is penning a horror series. Jennifer Lopez and Chrissy Teigen are both starring in unscripted shows. Idris Elba is to star in a car stunt series. Bridesmaids director Paul Feig is working on an “exciting” project in development. Cara Delevingne is to host, and executive produce, a practical joke show. The hype is real.

In August, Katzenberg's holding company WndrCo announced it had secured a $1 billion seed-funding round for Quibi, and it’s already hit $100 Million in advertising sales before its big spring debut.

Whatever you do though, don’t call it TV. “I’m going to continue to believe, and argue, and preach that Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television,” Katzenberg told Vanity Fair. “Our [service] is exclusively about what you do from 7 am to 7 pm on your phone. And what you’re doing today, if you’re in our core demographic of 25-to 35-year-olds, is you’re actually watching 60-70 min of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. That growth is now a well-established consumer habit that Quibi is sailing into.”

Could this be Netflix for the new gen? While many see the appeal of a platform completely focused on the user experience for mobile viewing (the average screen time in the UK is 3 hours and 23 minutes per day), some have their doubts. “They are spending a lot of money on filmmakers that don’t necessarily fit either the medium or the audience,” a film producer tells BURO. “It seems to be skewed towards people that want to watch 10 minute ‘films’ in one sitting. Most people that have a few minutes to spare, and want to watch something, either continue watching whatever they’re watching on Netflix or they go on YouTube.” Is bite-sized film the future? Watch this space. Literally.

COVER IMAGE | shutterstock


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