You already watch a lot of stuff on your phone. There isn't a lack of options between big platforms like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Twitch, or the social media streams of TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. But what if some of those options, particularly from Netflix and Hulu, are just too long?
Enter Quibi, a streaming platform that will specialize in "quick bite" (hence the name Quibi) scripted, unscripted, and news content that you will only be able to watch on a mobile device. Videos will be no longer than 10 minutes. The service is managed by a bunch of media industry veterans and is attracting top tier, A-list talent, all of whom seem eager to make serialized short-form entertainment.
Here's what we know about Quibi so far.
(Check back often because we will update this post with more information as it becomes available.)
Quibi is coming in April 2020. The platform will arrive on mobile devices in April 6, 2020, TV Guide has confirmed, the same month NBCUniversal plans to roll out its traditional streaming service Peacock and the same season — spring — that WarnerMedia is expected to launch HBO Max. It'll be a busy time of year for new streaming services.
Quibi will have a tiered pricing structure. Similar to Hulu, Quibi will have two different paid experiences. For $4.99 a month, users will get one ad before the start of the video; the length of the ad will depend on the length on the video. Per Variety, a video that is five minutes or less will have a 10-second ad, while videos longer than that will have a 15-second ad. The service's ad-free tier will cost $7.99 a month.
Quibi isn't (but sort of is) a binging platform. The platform's scripted content will release episodes, or chapters, as Quibi prefers to call them, daily. The total runtime of a scripted show is expected to be about 2 hours per season. Its reality and unscripted programs will be self-contained and run for about 10 episodes. In theory, you'd be able to watch all of these in one go, if you felt so inclined, after they aired. There will also be "daily essential" news and lifestyle programming (think cooking shows) that will be crafted for that day.
Quibi is seriously only available on phones. While you can often screencast your phone's screen to your TV, the Quibi app — and thus its programs — will only be available on phones. Its team says that its programming will be designed to be viewed in either landscape or portrait modes without any loss of image quality and may even change what the viewer sees in the scene. Studios apparently aren't too concerned about having to shoot things for both portrait and landscape mode, however.
Quibi is spearheaded by some technology and media bigwigs. Quibi's founder and guiding hand is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the chairman of Disney from the mid-1980s to the mid-'90s and one of the co-founders of the movie studio Dreamworks. The company's CEO and technology point person is Meg Whitman, the former CEO and president of HP. Diane Nelson, the former president of DC Entertainment, is Quibi's head of content.
It seems like everyone wants to work with Quibi. One thing that Quibi seems to have going for it is the range of high-profile talent that is involved with its programming. Chrissy Teigen is headlining a Judge Judy-esque show called Chrissy's Court, while Zac Efron and his brother will star in a reality survival series called Kill the Efrons. Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins will play the only survivors of a plane crash trying to find their way out of the wilderness in Survive. Kevin Hart is starring and producing an action comedy series called Action Scene, and Kiefer Sutherland is leading a loose remake of the 1960s TV series and 1993 movie The Fugitive. The horror anthology 50 States of Fright, produced by Sam Raimi, has booked Rachel Brosnahan and Christina Ricci for roles. Avengers: Endgame directors the Russo Brothers are executive-producing a docuseries called Slugfest about the DC-Marvel comics rivalry through the years, inspired by Reed Tucker's book Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-Year Battle between Marvel and DC.
Some creators are taking more experimental swings with the platform. For instance, Steven Spielberg is producing a horror series titled Spielberg's After Dark and it will literally only be available after dark because episodes will only show up on your phone after the sun sets in your location. Meanwhile, Veena Sud, the showrunner for the AMC series The Killing, is working on a series called The Stranger, a show about a ride-sharing service driver named Clare who picks up a sociopath and then must find safety over the course of 12 hours. Each 10-minute episode will release an hour later each night.
Remakes of movies including Varsity Blues and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days are also in development, as are projects from the likes of Catherine Hardwicke and Guillermo del Toro. NBC News, the BBC, and 60 Minutes are all producing short-form news content for the platform as well.
If you want to watch Quibi shows without Quibi, just practice some patience (and hope). One interesting thing about the Quibi model is that creators will be allowed to shop their content to other platforms after two years, potentially editing the "chapters" into a single 2-hour movie. Quibi also relinquishes exclusivity rights after seven years, which means the creators will own the project outright after that period.
Quibi is targeting millennials and Generation Zers. In an interview with Vulture, Katzenberg explained that the platform "is for 18-to-44-year-olds, and very, very targeted at the 25-to-35-year-old millennial." (Because if there's one thing millennials love, it's The Fugitive.) Perhaps in a gesture to those generations, Whitman vetoed engaging in data mining and monetization through the app. "It's just on the wrong side of history," Whitman told the Los Angeles Times. "It's not consistent with our brand and what consumers expect today."