October 22nd update: According to the Wall Stret Journal & Quibi’s blog, Quibi is shutting down after only 6 months of operation. It will be interesting to see if they manage to license / sell the shows they created.
If you don’t yet know about Quibi then let me briefly tell you what it is, it is a new streaming services, but it’s only available on phones, and each new episode is only 10 minutes long (which they call “quick bites“). There is a new episode of each show every weekday.
Now that you know briefly what Quibi is, let me talk about why I’m talking about paltry downloads, Nicole Sperling for the New York Times did a story where she talked to the founder of Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and how he is blaming COVID-19 for the rough start of Quibi. But I feel it’s not just COVID-19 which is causing his app to have less downloads than he wanted, it’s more than that.
To start, there are already so many streaming services, way too many to list here so I will refer you to MacRumors and ScreenRant for a list of the majority of current streaming services. When there is too many streaming services people don’t want to subscribe to a service just for one or two shows, then have to cancel. There is what many are calling ‘subscription fatigue‘ which we already had already hit in December 2019 or even earlier.
If you do want to use Quibi after the free trial you have to decide which plan you want, which just adds another step to the process that the user has to take. They have to decide if they want to pay $5 per month to get access, but get ads that can’t be skipped. Or a user can pay $8 per month for no ads.
Quibi also has each episode be 10 minutes or less which is unique to Quibi, but most aren’t sure if this will be a good model in the future.
With many streaming services users can take screenshots so they can share a part of the show with someone, but at the time of writing Quibi doesn’t let you do that. As Paige Leskin pointed out, it’s stopping Quibi from going viral and getting more subscribers.
Finally, Quibi is doing something no streaming service has done before, only being viewable on a phone, so it’s going to take time for users to adapt to it, and some may not adapt. COVID-19 isn’t the only thing that caused low downloads, it’s all of these reasons and more
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