This weekend, Quibi co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman appeared at this year’s Produced By Conference in California, and revealed when their forthcoming mobile-focused streaming service would launch: April 6th, 2020. When it does, it will come with two tiers: $4.99 with short ads, and $7.99 without them.
Those price points put it below that of competitors like Netflix and Disney+, which range from $7 to $9 a month at their lowest tiers, something that could help the streaming service stand out, given the increased competition as more companies make the jump into streaming video.
Word broke recently that Quibi will be designed exclusively for mobile devices (rather than mobile-first), Whitman said that with the arrival of 5G internet, people are going to spent more time watching video on their phones and tablets.
The pair also reiterated that because they’re focusing on developing video content for mobile devices, the app’s offerings will be different from the traditional 20 and 40 minute programs that television shows typically come in. Whitmen explained that the company will offer a completely original slate of content that will structure its episodes in a new way. “This is a completely new platform,” she said, “with a completely new opportunity to tell stories in a different format.” She also said that they plan to have around 7,000 videos on the platform in the first year.
The company’s shows will be like a Dan Brown novel: lots of short chapters
Katzenberg described their videos as having a similar structure to that of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. “Dan Brown has spoken about having these 464-page novels with very short chapters, so that if his readers didn’t have 30-40 minutes to sit down and read a big section, they could still have a good reading experience with however amount of time they had.” Quibi’s videos are expected to play out a 2-hour series in 7-10 minute chapters.
Already, the company has raised $2 billion to produce its slate of original content, and it’s been picking up a number of projects in recent months. Last year, it signed directors Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi to produce a pair of horror shows for the service. It’s also developing a Social Network-eque show about the founding of Snapchat, #Freerayshawn, a drama series starring Stephan James and Laurence Fishburne from Antoine Fuqua, a court show starring Chrissy Teigen, and remakes of MTV’s Punk’d and Singled Out.
However, the streaming service has a steep road ahead of it, as other short-form video efforts have largely fizzled, like Verizon’s Go90. It remains to be seen if the company will last longer than the content it plans to release.