What is Quibi?

During the coronavirus pandemic many of us have turned to subscription services as means of entertainment. Video streaming platform Netflix, for example, has seen its subscriber numbers surge, adding 16 million new subscribers in the first three months of 2020. Disney Plus has also nearly doubled its subscribers in just two months – from 26.5 million in February to 50 million in April, as a result of the lockdown.

There’s another player that entered the market recently, often referred to as ‘Netflix for your phone’, which we might soon start thinking of as our new lockdown companion.

What is Quibi?

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year, Quibi is a new subscription-based video streaming service, devoted to delivering short-form content.

The videos on Quibi are 10 minutes or shorter, while the films are broken down into shorter chapters. The platform is currently only available on smartphones and tables, although the company is planning to allow it to play on TV soon.

The service creators have worked with A-list Hollywood celebrities – from Steven Spielberg to Jennifer Lopez to Bill Murray – to create engaging short-form content that can be streamed on the app.

Quibi’s co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is also a well-known face in Hollywood – he is the former studio boss of Paramount and CEO of Disney, who, during his career in film, has overseen the production of many animation classics including The Lion King (1994) and Shrek (2001).

In addition to entertainment, the service also screens reality shows and bespoke news bulletins NBC, the BBC and Telemundo, among others.

Distinctive features

Quibi’s distinctive feature called Turnstile, allows viewers to keep the image full screen, whether they hold their phone in landscape or portrait mode. Show creators have framed their shots so that the action suits either aspect ratio and in some cases have used the facility to reveal a different point-of-view. For example, if a show features a traditional perspective when the picture is widescreen, it shows a view of the protagonist’s phone when held vertical.

Do I need to pay for it?

The mobile-first streaming service is currently only available in the US for a monthly fee of $4.99 with adverts or $7.99 for ad-free viewing. The company is also planning to roll the service out globally later in the year.

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