Quibi vs. Everybody: The Streaming Wars Invade Las Vegas

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The Streaming Wars invaded CES last week and all three of the hugely anticipated entrants (Quibi, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal) took the center stage. WarnerMedia spoke about its “swipey” interface and there wasn’t much Peacock talk as NBCU looks to save that for its investor meeting this Thursday.

Quibi gave us the most deets during CES, so here’s a breakdown of what we learned.

WTF is Quibi?

Quibi is the first streaming video service exclusively designed for mobile, not for TV. However, it is important to note that the service can be casted to a television via Chromecast or Airplay.

It’s backed by basically every major studio and includes top-talent such as Academy Award winners Steven Spielberg, Peter Farrelly, and Guillermo del Toro; directors Antoine Fuqua, Lena Waithe, Sam Raimi, and Catherine Hardwicke; and stars such as The Rock, Chrissy Teigen, Kevin Hart, J. Lo, Idris Elba, and Bill Murray among many others.

Here’s what we learned last week

Quibi will launch on April 6th with two pricing plans. An ad-supported option for $4.99 per month and a premium option (ad-free) for $7.99 per month.

Within the 12 months following its launch, Quibi will boast more than 175 shows (35 of those will be movies) and 8,500 short episodes, with three hours of fresh content rolling out daily.

The service will have three types of content offerings: movies told in 7-10 minute chapters, episodic shows (scripted and non-scripted) spanning a variety of genres including food (yes, please), sports, and documentary series, and daily essentials, which are 5-6 minute news shows.

T-Mobile subscriber by chance? You won’t only just get Netflix on them, but you’ll also get Quibi bundled with your plan, however exact details weren’t announced. Regardless, we’re fans of partnerships to drive subscriber growth and that’s exactly what you can expect with this. Hell, it got Disney+ 10 million subscribers in one day.

Quibi is using a new engineering technology it calls “Turnstyle”. The patent-pending tech allows viewers to seamlessly switch between portrait and landscape viewing modes without any black bars to fill the screen. Down the road, Quibi could look to tap into other mobile features included GPS, haptic touch, messaging, etc.

Will Quibi be successful?

Quibi was the talk of the town at CES last week. We spoke with a lot of people and there are very mixed reviews. Although a majority of folks believe Quibi will be a success, there’s a fair share of naysayers that thinks the service will be a dud. These were some of the comments we heard.

“Mobile-only will never work. Look at Go90”

“Why would I pay monthly for Quibi when I don’t even watch short-form video on Facebook Watch, Instagram TV, or Snap Originals for free?”

“Movies, split into chapters. Why couldn’t I watch a 120-minute movie and press pause every 10 minutes?”

The pro-Quibi camp harmonizes around the idea that “You don’t want to bet against Jeffrey Katzenberg,” and it’s understandable why you wouldn’t. He turned Disney around in the late ’80s, launched Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen which sold to NBCU in 2016 for $3.8 billion.

At CES last week, Katzenberg unapologetically said “Sorry. I’ve been doing this…I get to say this…I’ve been doing this before you all were fucking born.”

Quibi will be very different than the streaming services we’re used to. Will users embrace the mobile-centric offering? Will people want to flip their phone around while watching a show? We have no idea and that’s why this launch is the one we’re most excited about this year.

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