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Quibi - The streaming service that wants to bring hollywood to mobile has launched


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Quibi has been making waves for a while now, but while they've raised $1 billion, they've been largely secretive about the final product. While we still don't know a lot, we finally got our first look at the Quibi service, and a few details about how this streaming service is trying to stand out.

 

Quibi is being headed up by former Disney Studios boss and founder of Dreamworks Jeffrey Katzenberg, and former CEO of HP and eBay Meg Whitman. The idea is to build a streaming service focused on short (10 minutes or less) videos aimed at mobile consumption. They call these videos "quick bites," which is where the name Quibi comes from. Launching on April 6th of this year, it'll cost $5 a month with ads, or $8 a month without ads. By focusing entirely on mobile, Quibi insists that it's not competing against Netflix and Disney and HBO, but things like Tic Tock or Instagram. They're pushing the narrative that there are two things that will help them stand out.

 

One is quality. They've been putting that billion dollars to work hiring big name stars and directors. Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, Zac Efron, Idris Elba, Kristen Bell, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Tyra Banks, Steph Curry, 50 Cent, and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo all have Quibi projects in the works. Katzenberg says their competition might spend $100 a minute on content. Quibi will be spending $100,000 a minute, putting their productions on par with early Game of Thrones episodes. They're also putting out a whole lot of content. They intend to have more than 175 original shows totaling more than 8,500 quick bites in the first year.

 

The second differentiator is a signature technology they call "Turnstyle." The idea is that Quibi doesn't just stream one video to your phone, but two simultaneous streams: one in landscape and one in portrait. You can rotate your phone any time to seamlessly switch between the two. It won't just be two differently formatted versions of the same video either, Quibi creators will ship two instances of the video that have been framed entirely differently.

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In one example the landscape view is shot like a typical show, but the landscape view shows you the screen of the protagonist.

 

Regardless of who they get to make this stuff, in the end you're still asking for people to spend money on a service to watch short videos on their phones. As an elder millennial, maybe I'm just too old for that to appeal to me. If I have 10 minutes to watch something, it hardly takes any time at all to bring it up on a TV. Between apps on my streaming box, chromecast, and airplay, if Spielberg directed something, I'm probably just going to watch it on my television, not my phone. If I'm out and about, wasting time on my phone, odds are I don't want to pull out some headphones and try and take something in, I'll probably just scroll through twitter or reddit. If I click a link and a video comes up and is 10 minutes long, I'm probably just going to close it and move on.

 

Turnstyle is an interesting tech, and I can imagine some nifty ways to use it, but it also seems like something I won't actually want to use. With shifts in distribution platforms, we've often been promised new ways to watch things. With DVDs, Blu Rays, and then with streaming we were told all the ways that they would change the viewing experience: multiple angles, picture in picture, interactivity, live commentary; gimmicks all of them. Turns out that if you have something you want to watch, especially something really well crafted, it's usually the best experience to just sit there and watch it, not constantly screwing around to see what you might be missing from some other angle.

 

Still, a lot of money is being thrown at this, and a lot of very capable people are making things for it. Quibi is planning on raising another billion dollars to make more content. Don't you want to watch a Spielberg movie, split into a dozen 7-10 minute chunks, with a week between each one, that you can only watch at night. Well, don't you?

 

 

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On 1/10/2020 at 3:11 PM, TwinIon said:

Still, a lot of money is being thrown at this, and a lot of very capable people are making things for it. Quibi is planning on raising another billion dollars to make more content. Don't you want to watch a Spielberg movie, split into a dozen 7-10 minute chunks, with a week between each one, that you can only watch at night. Well, don't you?

 

Maybe? In theory? My gut instinct after reading your post: I hate it. It just sounds like a lot of work for 10 minute bites? I guess Gen Z might dig it since they gravitate towards mobile content more but it just sounds annoying. 

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Knowing some of the things that are being planned as well as some of the talent involved I'm curious about the platform.  The tech involved makes it even more curious. I DO think that one 1 minute episode a week is pushing it a bit, but what you gonna do?

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19 hours ago, Greatoneshere said:

Maybe? In theory? My gut instinct after reading your post: I hate it. It just sounds like a lot of work for 10 minute bites? I guess Gen Z might dig it since they gravitate towards mobile content more but it just sounds annoying. 

Yeah, I could hardly devise a worse way to watch something I'd otherwise really want to see. I also can't imagine paying a monthly fee for something that is basically mobile only. I pretty much watch zero video on my phone longer than 30 seconds.

 

There must be some kind of generational gap here that I fall into, but I don't think my parents want to watch this stuff on their phones either. Based mostly on the names involved, I feel like they're making a lot of content aimed at people over 30, but the audience for content of this length delivered in this way is primarily appealing to much younger people. Aka, people who really won't shell out for a subscription service with ads.

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3 minutes ago, TwinIon said:

Yeah, I could hardly devise a worse way to watch something I'd otherwise really want to see. I also can't imagine paying a monthly fee for something that is basically mobile only. I pretty much watch zero video on my phone longer than 30 seconds.

 

There must be some kind of generational gap here that I fall into, but I don't think my parents want to watch this stuff on their phones either. Based mostly on the names involved, I feel like they're making a lot of content aimed at people over 30, but the audience for content of this length delivered in this way is primarily appealing to much younger people. Aka, people who really won't shell out for a subscription service with ads.

 

Yeah, I agree completely - the turnstyle thing also sounds potentially annoying. This all screams gimmick-y to me, but again, Gen Z may take to it, despite the content seeming to be aimed at an older demo. I think the biggest rub is the monthly fee - I don't see the value in that for this kind of content.

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People watch stuff on their phones... it happens. I've watched episodes of shows on my phone.  This is a gamble for sure, but it is a smart one. I've been hanging out with my nieces and nephews for the last month. THEY DON'T WATCH TV. Their faces are glued in their phones and tablets. Parents can pay a monthly fee for a service that will keep the kids out of their hair... yeah that's a smart bet.

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  • 2 months later...

So I downloaded the app and signed up for the 90 day free trial and watched a couple of shows and I'm digging it. The episodes are NOT one minute long but 8 minutes each so far. I've only watched two episodes of the Liam Hemwsworth, Christopher Waltz show "The Most Dangerous Game" which is intriguing so far but still to early for me to tell if I like it or not. Pretty basic setup that you can infer from the title. I also watched the Prank'd revival with Chance The Rapper and a morning news show and an entertainment show. The tech is pretty good, you can watch the show in a wide shot when the phone is horizontal and a close up on the main subject of the shot when the phone is in portrait. Switching between the two angles is seamless. I'll be back with more impressions as I spend more time with the app and it's programming.

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3 minutes ago, skillzdadirecta said:

I don't know... this is literally the first time I'm hearing this.

 


Haven’t found any articles on the subject, though. 

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Quibi has launched and is currently offering a free 90 day trial. I haven't seen many reactions to their content yet, so post some if you find em.

 

There is one thing they've seemingly gone out of their way to prevent: watching quibis on TV. Apparently you cannot cast or airplay Quibi content to a TV, and screen mirroring via HDMI, Miracast, and Airplay has also been disabled. I'm guessing it's in part an overzealous attempt to prevent piracy, but the official word is that they simply want people watching everything on their phones. There isn't even an iPad app.

 

I imagine someone will find a way, but either way I predict that they reverse this stance within the first month, if not the first week. The fact that they didn't change this before launching during a nearly worldwide stay at home order is hilarious.

 

You cannot even take screenshots, ensuring that no one bothers to share any evidence they're watching anything on Quibi.

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From what I've heard regarding the shows on Quibi, there are 2-3 potentially good/great shows and everything else is either fluff, junk food, or a waste of time. A lot of reality TV shows or documentaries (which, given how Tiger King went, are sort of becoming reality TV shows in their own way). I'm certainly not going to watch full shows on my phone (unless I had to, like at an airport or something), but that's a personal preference. These are four articles that go in-depth on the matter that I saw:

 

https://www.slashfilm.com/quibi-shows-ranked/

 

https://tv.avclub.com/quibi-reviewed-we-judge-chrissys-court-the-new-punkd-1842682816

 

https://www.ign.com/articles/quibi-shows-review-most-dangerous-game-survive-chrissys-court

 

https://collider.com/is-quibi-good/

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Chris- said:

 


Haven’t found any articles on the subject, though. 

What that seems to be referencing is that this particular WGA member, which is the writer's guild, isn't happy with the deal that the WGA got for Low Budget Digital projects. I'm not a member of the writer's guild (Although I hope to be soon) I'm a in the Editor's guild and our rates are still decent for low budget short form content. That said, I don't know what the WGA deal is or if the bulk of the members are unhappy about it, I can ask some friends... but the Studios are constantly looking for ways to bypass the Unions and the WGA has been getting the short end of the stick for awhile now. I don't know what the wider reaction to Quibi has been... I know they have been hiring like CRAZY in the last year. Hollywood and The Unions are STILL trying to figure out the whole digital/streaming thing as we movie away from the traditional Theater, Home Video, Cable/Network TV platform.

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I'll give it a trial. I'm potentially interested for one big reason: break time at work. During my 15 minute break, having an 8-10 minute, well produced episode of a serialized drama series to watch as I eat my protein bar sounds pretty good. It's helpful that you can download episodes as well, since I get no reception in my building. 

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Not allowing screenshots is so dumb I can hardly believe it. Tiger King memes are funny even to people who haven't watched the show...

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1 hour ago, skillzdadirecta said:

What that seems to be referencing is that this particular WGA member, which is the writer's guild, isn't happy with the deal that the WGA got for Low Budget Digital projects. I'm not a member of the writer's guild (Although I hope to be soon) I'm a in the Editor's guild and our rates are still decent for low budget short form content. That said, I don't know what the WGA deal is or if the bulk of the members are unhappy about it, I can ask some friends... but the Studios are constantly looking for ways to bypass the Unions and the WGA has been getting the short end of the stick for awhile now. I don't know what the wider reaction to Quibi has been... I know they have been hiring like CRAZY in the last year. Hollywood and The Unions are STILL trying to figure out the whole digital/streaming thing as we movie away from the traditional Theater, Home Video, Cable/Network TV platform.

Interesting! Thank you for the insight.

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2 hours ago, sblfilms said:

Not allowing screenshots is so dumb I can hardly believe it. Tiger King memes are funny even to people who haven't watched the show...

 

I just tried to take a screenshot in Netflix on Android and it blacked out the video and just kept the interface. I'm pretty sure it does the same thing on desktop.

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

 

I just tried to take a screenshot in Netflix on Android and it blacked out the video and just kept the interface. I'm pretty sure it does the same thing on desktop.

 You can definitely screenshot Netflix from Windows desktop.

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9 minutes ago, sblfilms said:

 You can definitely screenshot Netflix from Windows desktop.

I don't see why you couldn't do it from a mac either... let me check.  Yup just did it and I would prove it if I knew how to embed screengrabs here :p

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On 4/7/2020 at 2:24 PM, skillzdadirecta said:

I don't see why you couldn't do it from a mac either... let me check.  Yup just did it and I would prove it if I knew how to embed screengrabs here :p

 

Upload to an image hosting site (imgur / postimage.org / imageshare.io) and then post the url it gives you after you upload it (Either by just pasting the URL and the boards will automatically paste it as an image or going down the the bottom right that says "Insert image from URL")

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15 hours ago, skillzdadirecta said:

Dunno... I just found out that Tmobile Customers get it free for a year I just happen to BE a Tmobile customer!  I wonder if I can wait until my 90 free trial is up before I get the free year? :hmm:

I had no idea about this. There was no way I was going to pay for Quibi, but free for a year? I just signed up. I wasn’t expecting the device rotation to be anywhere nearly as snappy as it is. 
 

There are a few things I’ll watch on it. Though, I usually watch my “bite sized” entertainment on YouTube. I’m not sure going from wide to close is reason enough for me to pay for a service when I get infinitely more content for free with YouTube. 

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9 hours ago, Emblazon said:

I had no idea about this. There was no way I was going to pay for Quibi, but free for a year? I just signed up. I wasn’t expecting the device rotation to be anywhere nearly as snappy as it is. 
 

There are a few things I’ll watch on it. Though, I usually watch my “bite sized” entertainment on YouTube. I’m not sure going from wide to close is reason enough for me to pay for a service when I get infinitely more content for free with YouTube. 

 

That's their proprietary tech "Turnstyle" that they are getting sued for. It is surprisingly responsive.

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I'm really digging Quibi to be honest... It's great for what it is, I downloaded a couple of shows to watch at work the other night (The part of the building I'm in gets shitty cellphone service and getting connected to ABC'S Wifi is a pain in the ass because of all of the security restrictions) So I watched the first episode of Survive which stars Sansa Stark and The guy who played Dr. Dre in Straight out of Compton, and it was solid. I also watched the first episode of Sam Raimi's anthology Horror series and that was good as well and over the top in typical Raimi fashion. I'm still watching Most Dangerous Game and Polygon's gaming news show. Can you get the same content in other places? Yes. But the short format of each episode gives works for folks looking for a distraction while their doing something else and I can see this service being popular with young commuters and college kids amongst others. I'm thinking this is a winner and if enough people jump on board they could be in good shape. They have to promote it better though because I had no idea about the Tmobile deal. The quarantine could be an opportunity for them.

 

Also while I do get that this is primarily a mobile platform designed for phones, I do wish there was a way to watch some of these programming on other devices.

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2 hours ago, Emblazon said:

I’m absolutely hooked on The Stranger. There’s stupid choices going, but there’s also something deeper going on, a la Servant. 

I haven't watched that one yet... there's only one episode so far, right?

 

Quibi had 1.7 Million Downloads Its First Week After Launch

 

Quote

1.7 million is a bit better than analysts had been expecting, with estimates ranging between 1 and 1.5 million. But that number is still small potatoes compared to Quibi’s much larger rivals. Disney Plus surpassed 10 million users (and 3.2 million app downloads) on its launch day, which is a tough act to follow.

 

Quote

Quibi’s other main problem is a lack of TV support. Jeffrey Katzenberg and Whitman launched their big streaming gamble without any kind of TV app or large-screen experience, but the company seems to be fast-tracking that part now — after initial reviews cited it as a major downside to the paid video service. “We had always planned to be able to cast to your TV, so we’re going to see if we can accelerate that in the engineering roadmap,” Whitman said on CNBC. “We’ll eventually get there, but it was never a part of the launch. If we had known about COVID, maybe it would have been.”

Good to hear that they are working on a TV casting solution.

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9 hours ago, skillzdadirecta said:

Good to hear that they are working on a TV casting solution.

I'm glad they're changing their minds, but I don't believe for a second that they had been planning on it. It's not like a feature they needed to develop, they went out of their way to prevent it from happening and are now getting push back.

 

As much as I have dismissed the service from the start, I am curious about the content. Once they allow casting I'll give the trial a go.

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