If you’ve never heard of Quibi before last week, the deluge of news about Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming “quick bites” smartphone-centric streaming service likely came as a big surprise. During appearances at both the Produced By conference and the Banff World Media Festival, the former Walt Disney Studios chairman and DreamWorks Animation co-founder rolled out a mess of information about the service, set to arrive next year.
Most intriguing, of course, were the names: Steven Spielberg, Catherine Hardwicke, Paul Feig, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro, and Steven Soderbergh, and that’s just the first lineup of creators who will be taking their talents to the latent streaming service in the coming months. But while plenty of filmmakers have made the jump to television, Vanity Fair reports on another reason why such big names are willing to go small-scale.
In short, because they can still make movies out of their work. As the outlet reports, “The company will exclusively license the content in bite-size-chunk form for seven years — but after two years on the service, the creator of the show (and the studio behind it) will be able to edit it into one contiguous piece and sell the rights to a global audience, reaping the financial rewards that come with such a deal.”
The outlet spoke to Fuqua, who put an even finer point on it. The “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” filmmaker is making a planned two-and-a-half-hour drama called “#Freerayshawn” for the service, and he’s still eyeing feature-length possibilities for it.
He told Vanity Fair, “Someone is basically financing a film or a TV show for you on a new platform, and then for the film itself, you get to own the I.P. I can’t think of a better situation. Quibi is basically paying for a film, and then in a few years time, you get to own it. It’s incredible.”
Much has been made of the big names attached to the serialized shows it will host — known in Quibi parlance as “Lighthouses” — but the platform will also host unserialized “Quick Bites” and a three-times-daily news program known as “Daily Essentials” that will be curated from users own “personal tastes.”
Quibi’s bite-sized content will come with a matching price tag: The first of Quibi’s two pricing tiers will cost $4.99 per month and will run one ad before each video segment. An ad-free subscription will cost $7.99 per month. Both pricing plans are cheaper than all the subscriptions currently available on major competing platforms and Quibi will also have a two-week free trial period.
And while the platform won’t roll out until April of next year, investors certainly dig it: Quibi has already raised $1 billion in anticipation of its launch next year.