Quibi, the much-hyped, but for now, “mobile only” streaming service, launched Monday with its line-up of original movies and shows.
Founder and movie mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg has maintained that delivering premium content in shorter-than-ten-minutes episodes – hence Quibi’s name, a play on “quick bites” – will set it apart from other video-on-demand providers like Netflix and Disney+.
But critics say the advent of other short-form providers like TikTok and YouTube, coupled with the current COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which has hundreds of millions of potential subscribers at home in front of their TVs, could hobble the “mobile only” Quibi in its efforts to capture market share. Critics say it is like YouTube, only you have to pay for it.
The Quibi app currently is free for 90 days for anyone within the United States (and free for one year for some T-Mobile customers). Then it will be $7.99 a month.
Quibi has invested around $1 billion (yes billion with a B) on content from big name directors including Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi. Among shows currently available: Most Dangerous Game, starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz, Survive, starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins, and Flipped, starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson. Critics have described the content as ranging from mediocre to terrible.