What Hollywood Can Teach Us About Quibi

thekjmachine October 3, 2020

In developing news, it would appear that Quibi may be heading for a sale as reported by the Daily Mail that struggling on-the-go streaming service Quibi explores options. Quibi has been mentioned here before, not long ago, in the article Quibi Mobile-Only Innovative Vertical Content.

Unfortunately, even with the content contributions of Hollywood heavyweights, the platform did not reach its goals. With so many other streaming services available, Quibi’s idea didn’t take hold as Jeffrey Katzenberg had earlier predicted. 

Some of the big names Hollywood offered up are:

There certainly wasn’t a lack of star power. 

Did you know that the average video length on YouTube is 11.7 minutes, which would make you think people would be primed for shorter video lengths? But, if you look at the averages, it’s skewed by music videos that run closer to 6 minutes. The average length for film and animation, though, is closer to 20 minutes.

And let’s face it, movies and scripted content are getting longer and longer. What used to be a 90-minute average has pumped up to 2 and 3 hours on some films! Avengers: Endgame clocked in at 3 hours. Though, if you look back through history, there are some lengthy films that easily capped over 2 hours. Gone with the Wind clocked in at 228 minutes.

So, is it that movie viewers prefer a deeply detailed film that draws them in for a vivid and epic experience? Or is there room for a shorter fair in an age of short attention spans? YouTube would say there is

As for Quibi, maybe it’s simply too early to tell. COVID-19 certainly changed the game and direction of viewership. How big of an impact did that have on the industry? Erin Taylor, a Quibi subscriber, was asked why did she keep her membership after the trial.

“I enjoy the shows and I think the way they display vertically is cool.”

There are options on the table, whether via sale or opening to the public as a chance to raise money, but it appears that Quibi wasn’t a major hit out of the gate, like a big movie opening on Christmas Day. Rather it fizzled, and people were left saying, “Quibi? What’s a Quibi?” 

Without transparency, nobody is completely certain what their subscriber numbers are, and Katzenberg isn’t saying. Even with Quibi celebrity content, it’s not enough to grab people’s attention. With the likes of Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming competitions like Disney Plus, did Quibi stand a chance with their pay for a short platform, or were they really competing with the likes of YouTube? And when you lost 90% of subscribers after a free trial, the outlook isn’t the best.

Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg invested over $1 billion on this venture. Meg Whitman is hardly a newcomer to making money, but this time it wasn’t a sure thing. Too bad she couldn’t do for Quibi what she did for eBay. And as for Jeffrey Katzenberg, he’s making more news for selling his mansion for big bucks, than he is for Quibi. 

He’s certainly had massive success with his film career, so it made sense for him to look into streaming, but the platform was gambling with bite-sized snackable shows which haven’t taken a foothold yet as a paid streaming service. Did COVID-19 alter the course of their trajectory? We’ll never know, but for now, we know the future of Quibi is changing. 

As for Katzenberg, he’s got quite a record when it comes to the film industry, having produced Shrek along with many other films, and having headed Disney’s film division along with overseeing Touchtone Television. When it comes to the entertainment industry, Jeffrey Katzenberg knows a thing or two.

Quibi currently offers a 14-day free trial, then moves to subscription-based service with a charge of $4.99 a month.

Meet me in the comment section and tell your favorite Quibi show.​