If Hollywood and Silicon Valley created a baby, they might call it Quibi. At least, that is how veteran film mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and tech executive Meg Whitman view their fledgling creation.
Quibi, a Hollywood-based streaming company that stands for “quick bites,” plans to take new, premium films shot by award-winning directors like Steven Spielberg and Catherine Hardwicke and present them in short episodic chapters about 10 minutes long developed exclusively for viewing on mobile phones.
The content will be distributed through a mobile app, designed by a tech team that has consulted with Hollywood creators to make an interface that is appealing to filmmakers and elusive younger audiences. “What we say internally is we’d like to be the quality of HBO and offer customers the convenience of Spotify,” Whitman said.
In the past year, Quibi has made waves after raising $1 billion in financing from Disney, WarnerMedia and other major studios and investors, gone on a hiring spree and released a flurry of announcements for upcoming projects with prominent filmmakers.
To hear Katzenberg tell it, Quibi is playing a pioneering role in crafting a new form of storytelling that combines elements of feature film storytelling and episodic television. “What we’re doing is just merging those two ideas together to what we hope is the third generation of film narrative,” he said.
But Quibi, which will charge about $5 a month with ads and $8 without ads, will face an increasingly crowded video streaming market when it launches next April.
“I do believe there is a legitimate audience for it,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a California market research firm. “They will be challenged by the subscription model given that [consumers] already have so many subscriptions for content now.”
Quibi’s target audience is people ages 25 to 35, and its larger demographic could include people 18 to 44. The videos are separated into three categories: long-form narratives distributed to consumers in short chapters; alternative content like reality shows or documentaries; and so-called Daily Essentials, which include daily news.