nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenMedia – Pulling Quibi out of the dead zone

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

Quibi is caught in a dead zone between social media and Netflix. In fact, it set up shop there. The top five Quibi complaints need to be fixed if it is to get out.

Quibi seeks to fill in odd moments in a user’s day with professional quality content. It expects young people to watch the videos on their mobile phones. Jeff Katzenberg, Founder, and Meg Whitman, CEO, hope to gain 7.4 million subs within a year of the service launch. Their strategy to this is to provide Hollywood quality content in 6-7 minutes bites for $4.99 a month with ads.

Quibi is failing (0:58)

Although the company claims five million people have the app on their phones, downloads have slowed to a crawl. The Wall Street Journal estimates the service will only reach 2 million subs after a year, 70% short of the stated target.

Advertisers are restless. The NY Post says advertisers like PepsiCo, Taco Bell, and Walmart want to slow down their payments to Quibi because they are concerned about viewership.

Company executives have taken a 10% pay cut to help conserve what’s left of the $1.75B in financing the company has received.

The service is not connecting with the intended audience. Amanda the Ninja has 150,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel. She is squarely in the demographic with which Quibi wants to connect. Her assessment of the service is brutally direct: “Quibi as a platform sucks.”

What can Quibi do?  (2:32)

Executives at Quibi need to fix the top complaints about the service quickly. Here are the top five.

Complaint #1: The service needs better content. (2:46)

Where is Quibi’s Game of Thrones or Stranger Things? Shows like the Most Dangerous Game and #FreeRayShawn are good, but not significant enough to create the buzz needed to get people on the platform. Quibi is counting on what it calls daily essentials to keep people coming back. Unfortunately, the news, current affairs, and human-interest content are not connecting. Mr. Katzenberg acknowledged the problem recently when he said: “The Daily Essentials are not that essential.”

Complaint 2: Drop portrait mode. (3:24)

While the feature is a neat effect, most of the time watching in portrait mode makes a viewer feel like they are missing stuff.

Complaint 3: Break out of the 7-minute constraint (3:47)

Amanda the Ninja singled out the decision to premier one episode a day of a top show like Most Dangerous Game as a big problem: “It would be like 6-10 minutes of a movie every day. That’s so annoying.” Quibi needs to allow producers to make shows the length they need to be. Viewers will figure out where to put the pauses based on how much time they have to watch.

Complaint 4: Get on the TV (4:26)

It is good that Quibi executives identified that TV support is essential quickly and added casting support for Apple and Google devices. However, the service needs to support all the major connected TV devices. Variety says the company is already in talks with Roku and Fire TV. The service also needs to be on Android TV, Samsung, Vizio, and LG smart TVs.

Complaint 5: Figure out the business model (5:11)

Is Quibi’s primary revenue model ads, or is it subscriptions? If it is both, there needs to be a free tier supported by ads and ad-free pay tier.

If the Quibi team fixes these five complaints, maybe the service will exit the dead zone between social media and Netflix and create a significant space for itself in the world of entertainment.


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