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Quibi forgot how to Quibi when it debuted its latest ‘film’

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Remember Quibi?

Illustration by Grayson Blackmon / The Verge

Quibi means “quick bite.” Seriously, that’s the meaning behind the name.

The entire idea behind the streaming service is that it should fit into your daily schedule, on your phone, on the go, in chunks that take under 10 minutes to watch. Every single show is filmed in a format that supports portrait and landscape viewing at the same time, encouraging you to flip your phone around.

So you might be surprised to learn: Quibi just screened one of its entire shows, stitched together as a feature film, at a drive-in theater.

The Hollywood Reporter says that The Americana theater in Los Angeles played host to the dinner-and-a-movie spectacle, which saw Quibi’s thriller series The Stranger played in a way it was absolutely not meant to be played before. As series creator Veena Sud told the publication, the original show was set from 7 PM to 7 AM over a single night in Los Angeles, and the idea was that each 10-15 minute episode would drop onto your phone at the same time of day that it took place in the show’s world — complete with a “creepy ringtone”.

Obviously, many things have not gone the way Quibi co-creators Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman originally planned, not least of which the COVID-19 pandemic which means most people in the US are spending the majority of their free time at home instead of on-the-go, and the company is trying to salvage things. Considering that Quibi reportedly lost 90 percent of its early users after their free trials expired (though Quibi is still disputing that) compromising on those original values might be utterly necessary now.

Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a show, and there were early talks about a Verge show as well.