Why Quibi’s launch was doomed from the start
Does anyone remember the short-lived app Quibi? The service, simply called Fast Food, aims to target a younger demographic with content that typically offers 10-minute episodes. Admittedly, the idea must be interesting. The short-form streaming platform was founded in August 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg and is led by its CEO, Meg Whitman. According to reports, $1.75 billion was invested in the new streaming service. Quibi went live in April 2020 with a three-month free trial. This was actually in the early days of the pandemic and most establishments were closed. Considering that much of the world has been asked to stay at home due to the lockdown, this seems like a great opportunity for streaming services around the world. In the first few days after launch, 910,000 users signed up for the streaming service. However, after the three-month free trial ended, only 72,000 people stuck with the streaming service, or less than 10 percent of signups. By the end of 2020, Quibi is on track to have nearly 2 million subscribers, which is just shy of the 7.4 million they hope to have. Unfortunately, the streaming service only lasted six months and the service ended on December 1, 2020. Most of Quibi’s library content will move to Roku in May 2021.
So what happened? How did the Quibi streaming service die so quickly? As I mentioned before, the idea of a short-form streaming service is interesting, but that doesn’t mean trying to make it a full-fledged streaming service is a good move. In fact, there is never a need for short content. The main reason is that places like Youtube or Tik Tok cover this area. Did the pandemic play a role in the launch failure? kind of. Here’s the thing, even without the pandemic, Quibi’s current content would likely be a flop. There are so many streaming services out there, it’s not hard to watch Netflix or Disney Plus on your phone while you’re on the train or on the highway, especially since you can download shows and movies to watch offline. Great, you can quickly watch something in less than 10 minutes, but for big budgets and serials, it’s not that important. I still have to binge the whole season, maybe 30 to 40 minutes in total.I might not be able to finish that nail-biting episode Ozark Before I go to work, I can easily go home, finish it, and enjoy the remaining episodes of the series. I can’t do this with Quibi. High-quality content is meant to be viewed and appreciated on the big screen.
At the end of the day, Quibi has failed to differentiate itself from its streaming rivals. Once you remove the gimmick, it’s just another big-name streaming service and big-budget show. What you see on Quibi is never a must-see. Quibi should strive to be different in terms of content. Why not target newfound creators instead of big-budget shows? Quibi has an opportunity to bring a different voice to the streaming market, but it’s trying to be on the same level as Netflix or Disney Plus. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my ideas will make the streaming service successful. The point is just to point out that Quibi is entering an extremely crowded market that continues to grow every year. Short-form streaming services are best served as free options from Tubi or Peacock.Of course, this tactic isn’t the easiest when you’re spending so much money on your streaming service to get a big name, as those two mostly rely on advertising or old intellectual property, which Quibi can’t rely on. Since Streaming services are mostly about content, it needs more than just shows Chris’ Court to get people’s attention. I understand the gimmick behind it, but the novelty won’t last long. Another key factor is that Quibi should be available for TV platforms. I understand trying to make sure it’s a gimmick for busy people, but given that the lockdown happened at launch, adjustments should be made so that viewers can watch a lot of their content on the big screen. Quibi has some interesting shows, These shows would probably do well if they weren’t constrained by Quibi’s rules. Quibi is a novel idea, but it requires more than a brief 10-minute gimmick. It failed to be truly unique and had to be bought, and given the many streaming services with better content on the market, Quibi was doomed from the start.
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