Quibi understands that most people are probably still unaware of what Quibi is, but the streaming service run by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman is hoping a new Super Bowl commercial will clear things up.
The commercial is based on a bank heist gone wrong, leaving the robbers with “four to 10 minutes to spare — the perfect amount of time to watch a Quibi,” according to Quibi’s press release. The getaway driver can’t meet his bank robber friends because he’s in the middle of a Quibi show, and another member of the crew soon finds himself enamored with Chance the Rapper’s Punk’d series. Yes, that’s based on the popular early ’00s MTV show of the same name, hosted by Ashton Kutcher.
None of this really describes what Quibi is, though. The mobile streaming service will run short-form entertainment from some of Hollywood’s biggest creators, stars, and up-and-coming influencers. Each episode of a series will run between four and 10 minutes, a time period that Whitman previously described as equivalent to waiting for coffee.
Quibi’s slate is already pretty impressive. Zac Efron, Idris Elba, Kristen Bell, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Tyra Banks, Steph Curry, 50 Cent, and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo all have original Quibi series in the works. (Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a Polygon Daily Essential, and there have been early talks about a Verge show.)
Ask Katzenberg and Whitman, and they’ll tell you they’re not competing with Netflix or Hulu or Disney+. Instead, they’re competing for attention people spend on apps like YouTube or Instagram. The goal is to roll out highly produced series that favor quality over quantity. If YouTube is home to plentiful content that boasts more than 500 hours of video being uploaded every minute, Quibi will be home to a slightly more curated selection of productions. Some of those projects will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make, reaching as much as $125,000 a minute. That works out to be about $7.5 million an episode — on par with early Game of Thrones episodes.
One of the biggest hurdles Quibi will have to face, however, is getting people to sign up. The streaming service will cost $4.99 a month with ads, and $7.99 a month without ads. That’s higher than Disney+ and Apple TV Plus, which boast big Hollywood stars and massive franchises. Quibi is teaming up with T-Mobile to bring more customers on board, but it’s unclear what that deal looks like. When Disney+ launched, it was made free to Verizon customers for a year. Verizon recently reported that having Disney+ helped boost subscribers in its recent financial quarter.
Still, the age-old line in Hollywood is “don’t bet against Jeffrey Katzenberg.” Stars like Chrissy Teigen have already used their impressive social media status to tell fans Quibi is available to pre-order in the App store. Quibi officially launches on April 6th.
And hey, even if it isn’t a rousing success from the start, at least the Super Bowl commercial gave us “I’ll be there in a Quibi” as a new catchphrase.