As if you needed one more thing to watch on your phone, here comes the new streaming platform Quibi. What makes this one a little different (for now) from the rest is that Quibi is designed to play on your mobile device. ONLY your mobile device. And while that fact has raised the ire of some, there are plenty out there who seem to have taken to the new streamer, as evidenced by its early returns.
So, what kind of content does Quibi provide? They are definitely not short in big names with Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz starring in “Most Dangerous Game”, Sophie Turner in “Survive”, J-Lo providing her talents in “Thanks A Million”, Chrissy Teigen in her version of Judge Judy titled “Chrissy’s Court” and a home-renovation comedy, “Flipped”, starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson. There is plenty more content as Quibi has 50 shows up and running.
Quibi has landed Sam Jackson and Ryan Reynolds to produce and star in a new comedy show for them. It’s being written by (and showrun by) Jim and Brian Kehoe who previously made the comedy movie Blockers. The series is called Futha Mucka and it sounds straight up bizarre. Here’s the official plot synopsis…
“Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds love each other. More accurately, Ryan loves Sam. When a minor mishap causes Sam to become Ryan’s primary caregiver, things get weird.”
Sam and Ryan have previously worked together on The Hitman’s Bodyguard and they’ve re-teamed for the sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. So clearly they like working together.
Quibi has placed a full series order for the show, which for them is a pretty big deal given that they’ve convinced two legit movie stars to do a series that can only be watched on a cell phone.
Looks like that Quibi short content plan is working. During the first week of operations, Katzenberg and Whitman’s Quibi has seen over 1.7 million downloads. Not bad for a streaming service meant for those to take on the road with them. Whitman, who recently appeared on CNBC and Fox Business to discuss their numbers, said the downloads exceeded their expectations.
Another bit of news that may help jump those numbers is the fact that Whitman said the company is working toward making their app cast to TV screens. She said this feature had been planned from the onset but it just was not available at launch.
Quibi Accused Of Plagiarism
Unfortunately, one piece of content on Quibi is already causing a stir as it is being accused of plagiarism. Memory Hole uses the talents of Jason Batemen, Patton Oswalt, Will Arnett, and John Bradley of Games of Throne as they jump into found footage obscure trends and inventions to laugh or marvel at.
The problem is that its premise is eerily similar to a YouTube channel, also titled Memory Hole, that puts together bizarre found footage video in a compilation they call Everything is Terrible! The creators of the channel feel the resemblance is way too close for their liking and they are not being silent about it as they released a statement on their Instagram.
They also feel their logo was ripped off too. Here’s the two logos for comparison…
How Much Quibi Costs
How much are people willing to pay at the moment with so many out of work? Well, right now Quibi is offering their subscription for 90-days free. After that, they will charge $4.99 a month for their ad-supported version or $7.99 a month ad-free.
Katzenberg mentioned that there was thought to delay the launch of Quibi with most of the nation under stay-at-home restrictions, but they instead opted for the 90-day free trial period to see if they could entice subscribers.
The People Behind Quibi
Quibi is the brainchild of founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. If that name is familiar to you, well it should be. Katzenberg, in 1994, teamed up with mega producers David Geffen and Steven Spielberg to create one of the biggest production companies, DreamWorks SKG, that went on to produce such big hits like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and How To Train Your Dragon. The name Quibi is a combination of “quick” and “bites” and the streamer delivers videos at 7 to 10 minutes lengths. As this is a mobile platform, viewers can download the app from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Katzenberg is not going at it alone in this $1.8 billion venture. Meg Whitman, previously of the Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks, Proctor & Gamble, and Hasbro, brings her vast experience to Quibi as its CEO.
Pandemic Changing Plans
Things looked real good for the pair, that is before COVID-19 took over the world. The initial pitch was to bring Quibi to users as an on-the-go diversion. Someone standing in line just about anywhere or perhaps those on the subway. The quick bites were meant for those who needed to occupy short amounts of time.
Whitman responded to how the pandemic may not affect this initial plan. “Think about how often you use your phone when you’re homebound,” she said via the New York Times. “People who are home with their children would really like a 10-minute break.” But not only did the pandemic create a huge snag for those who should be out on the go, but it also presented a financial problem.