When Quibi, the mobile streaming service, launched without TV and web apps, it roused our concerns regarding its future. Although the company claims it hit the 1.7 million downloads mark in the first week, Apptopia refutes that claim with a 1.1 million figure for first week’s downloads.
Is Quibi in Trouble?
Therefore, to assess Quibi’s success rate in comparison with big steaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, Apple and YouTube, we will take its two unique features in consideration: mobile only service and 10 minutes or less playtime per episode.
There is a decent variety of dramas, reality shows, news, sports, and more available on the service and all the content is original. That explains the $1.75 billion investment to launch with a lot of big names like Jennifer Lopez, and others. However, the company fatally restricted its accessibility to smaller screen on smartphones. In the current scenario, as per a NewYork Times report, mobile usage in the United States has dropped considerably during COVID-19 pandemic. As people are not staying at home, they are preferring to use streaming services on the web for entertainment through easy access on larger screens at home on their laptops, desktops and tablets.
The graph of daily users on web for Facebook, Netflix and YouTube, has been going up on while the numbers of daily user on those services are steadily falling on their apps. All these numbers show that during quarantine, Americans preferred devices for entertainment and work are PCs and laptops. Before the outbreak, smartphones usage was higher than larger screens for leisurely use. Maybe those numbers motivated Quibi to restrict its service and develop it for the small screen only, which could be accessed whenever and where ever.
In the hope to redefine story telling style, all content on Quibi is has less than 10 minutes of play time. The ‘quick bite’ length is a little unsettling. For me, episodes just do not provide enough juice to keep the viewer wanting to watch more. The reality shows and news on the service have a slight appeal over the dramas, but it is not enough to keep viewers glued to the service.
The global pandemic changed the dynamics of life and with that, internet usage. But when Quibi launched on 6th April, a majority of the world was in quarantine. In hind sight, Meg Whitman, one of the creators of Quibi, recently said in an interview that the company is now working on bringing the service to larger screens.
Because of a 90 days free trail offer at launch, all the subscribers are viewing content for free. Maybe that is why the free trial offer was lifted just after 2 days, presumably because the app didn’t do well. Let’s see how Quibi survives the competition and COVID-19 pandemic.