Quibi officially launched on Monday, with the mobile-first streaming video service offering short-form — under 10-minute — content to users in a differentiation bid in a marketplace that’s rapidly becoming crowded.
Shows are produced for Quibi in such a way that they can be viewed on an iPhone or iPad in both portrait and landscape orientations. The video fills the screen regardless of orientation, zooming in and automatically reframing the content appropriately.
In other words: You can’t hold it wrong.
The entire model of the short-form programming streamer founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman was built around providing viewers with “quick bites” — the name, pronounced “Qui-Bee,” therefore really ought to be “Qui-Bye” — of drama, comedy, unscripted content and news that could be watched on your phone during pauses in ordinary life: mid-commute, waiting for a meeting to start, etc. With much of the population in quarantine, “ordinary life” is wishful thinking. However, shut-in audiences are hungry for content, and Quibi surely has that in abundance.
“Abundance” is currently the service’s primary selling point. If you want a whole show where Will Arnett makes fun of arcane moments in Canadian pop culture, Quibi has you, and perhaps only you, covered for five minutes with Memory Hole.
On the other hand, there’s little evidence in the 24 programs debuting on April 6 (the cost is $4.99 per month with ads, $7.99 per month without ads) — all in episodes running between four and 10 minutes — that artistry or storytelling are baked into the Quibi mantra, which boils down to a variation on the classic Annie Hall punchline: The food is mediocre — and such small portions!
MacDailyNews Take: Well, let’s see how it develops. Quibi launch lineup is not all bad as Fienberg’s full article points out.