Of all the streaming services released recently, Quibi definitely has the most original solution to watching our favorite shows. Unlike its competitors, Quibi is a streaming service strictly for mobile that offers small episodes of just five, seven, or nine minutes. One of the main publicized features is the ability to watch anything in portrait mode, with the video focusing on the most important part of a scene. The idea is to allow the audience to watch a few episodes on the go, perfect for waiting times like when commuting. On paper, the idea seemed to align with current trends, as YouTube is watched by millions every single day. However, in practice, things didn't go so well.
By raising over $1 billion in venture capital, Quibi was able to get several A-list celebrities to showcase their work on the platform. Not only that, but since Quibi allowed for higher content freedom, many shows that would never have got to see daylight finally had a platform to thrive. In short, when Quibi launched in April 2020, it had over 50 original shows, staring celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth, and more. Unfortunately, star power only goes so far for a streaming service to prosper and, while many people signed up for the free trial, most of them left the app before the first payment was due.
What Went Wrong With Quibi?
Two main aspects made Quibi fail its expected user base for the first quarter. One of them isn't Quibi’s fault, though. No one could imagine what was to come just a few months after Quibi launched – COVID-19. As already mentioned, Quibi was built for people to watch their favorite shows while on the go. However, with the pandemic, most people are staying indoors. This means that they won't be using their phones as much and will prefer to watch shows on their smart TV or computer from the comfort of their sofas. Consequently, it makes sense that there isn't much demand for a mobile-only streaming service, especially when it's paid.
It didn’t help that users also have some problems with the streaming service itself, the first one being with the shows. While there are a few that made the cut and have great ratings, most of them are below the 60% mark on Rotten Tomatoes. Moreover, people aren't as keen on 7-minute episodes as Quibi initially thought. Especially when it comes to a series, as many viewers argue that episodes feel rushed because they need to stick under the 10-minute mark. Not only that, but users would also like to stream their favorite Quibi shows on TV or computer when they're at home. Sure, the app is designed to be used on the go, but if you want to binge-watch the remaining episodes of a show while at home, streaming it on your smart TV is way more comfortable.
Will Quibi Be Able to Succeed?
Things are looking grim for Quibi. The company is not only on track to miss its first-year subscriber goal by over five million, but it's also facing a lawsuit only a few months after being launched. That being said, there's no way around the fact that Quibi provides an extremely innovative concept that could become a powerhouse after a few adjustments, some of which the company is already undertaking. One example of this is how Quibi is developing ways to make it available on other devices.
Of course, Quibi's future is also tied to how the pandemic develops. If people start to leave their house more often in the next few months, then Quibi has a greater chance of succeeding. Whether the company is going to survive until then, only the future can tell.
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