Quibi Unveils First Look At “Turnstyle” Content, Katzenberg And Whitman Look To “Make Mobile Moments Extraordinary”
Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman took the stage Wednesday morning at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas at the Park MGM theater to give a look at the much-buzzed-about mobile streaming short-form platform. This was the first time that Quibi has shown their innovative platform to an audience — and the audience at CES was into it.
The panel started with a video that showed the evolution of entertainment consumption before including glimpses of some of the platform’s A-list creators including Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, Antoine Fuqua, Peter Farrelly, Catherine Hardwicke and Reese Witherspoon. The video was really selling us on the innovation of Quibi and how “the future is in our hands” — literally.
Katzenberg took the stage to talk about how Quibi is essentially a platform for Hollywood-caliber “stories optimized for viewing on the go.” He said he was inspired by Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and how each chapter was four to five pages long and how it was perfect bite-sized chunks to tell a bigger story. He also referenced how TV writers have been doing this sort of storytelling for decades, writing series with act breaks and keeping audiences engaged — and he applied all of this to Quibi.
At the end of it all, Katzenberg said that they are looking to have 175 original shows as well as 8,500 quick bites of content including comedies, dramas, news and reality series in three tiers of content including features, episodic and “Daily Essentials.”
Whitman added, “Quibi will inform, entertain and inspire.”
What we learned
Quibi, WarnerMedia, and NBCU all took the center stage at CES last week. WarnerMedia spoke about its “swipey” interface and there wasn’t much Peacock talk as NBCU looks to save that for its investor meeting this Thursday.
Quibi gave us the most deets during CES, so here’s a breakdown of what we learned.
The mobile-only vide service will launch on April 6th with two pricing plans. An ad-supported option for $4.99 per month and a premium option (ad-free) for $7.99 per month.
Within the 12 months following its launch, Quibi will boast more than 175 shows (35 of those will be movies) and 8,500 short episodes, with three hours of fresh content rolling out daily.
The service will have three types of content offerings: movies told in 7-10 minute chapters, episodic shows (scripted and non-scripted) spanning a variety of genres including food (yes, please), sports, and documentary series, and daily essentials, which are 5-6 minute news shows.
We spoke with a lot of people and there are very mixed reviews. Although a majority of folks believe Quibi will be a success, there’s a fair share of naysayers that thinks the service will be a dud. These were some of the comments we heard.
“Mobile-only will never work. Look at Go90.”
“Why would I pay monthly for Quibi when I don’t even watch short-form video on Facebook Watch, Instagram TV, or Snap Originals for free?”
“Movies, split into chapters. Why couldn’t I watch a 120-minute movie and press pause every 10 minutes?”
The pro-Quibi camp harmonizes around the idea that “You don’t want to bet against Jeffrey Katzenberg,” and it’s understandable why you wouldn’t. He turned Disney around in the late ’80s, and launched Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen which sold to NBCU in 2016 for $3.8 billion.
At CES last week, Katzenberg unapologetically said “Sorry. I’ve been doing this…I get to say this…I’ve been doing this before you all were f**king born.”
Quibi will be very different than the streaming services we’re used to. Will users embrace the mobile-centric offering? Will people want to flip their phone around while watching a show? We have no idea and that’s why this launch is the one we’re most excited about this year.
And while we’re on the topic of things that are different and potentially disruptive, remember all the people who thought the iPhone would never catch-on just because it didn’t have a physical keyboard? We’re looking at you, Crackberry users.
On April 6th, the world will be watching. We’ll find out whether or not it’ll be on mobile.