Well, it’s finally here.
After months of queries and quibbles and confusing commercials, Quibi, the billion-dollar brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg, as overseen by Meg Whitman, is here and ready to stream its initial offering of celebrity-driven content.
Quibi (which stands for “quick bites,” naturally) has built its distribution model around offering short-form content — episodes are limited to 10 minutes or less — optimized for a generation of viewers raised on viral videos and YouTube personalities. To that end, the talent Quibi has brought on board trends heavily toward the young and hip, with Chrissy Teigen hosting her own court show and Chance the Rapper resurrecting “Punk’d.” They even have a show where a mentalist breaks former NFL star Rob Gronkowski’s brain, though that seems less impressive than you’d think.
Beyond the name recognition involved, the company has also focused intently on creating programs that can be consumed on the fly, while waiting for a train or in the back of a Lyft or, theoretically, when you’re in the bathroom.
On paper, at least, people should have plenty of time to kick back and consume a (very) little Quibi content, a few minutes at a time, thanks to the ongoing global health crisis. And yet, there seems to be a very real hurdle standing in the streamer’s way since Monday’s launch.
With many Americans sheltering in place, distanced from friends and family, they have nothing but time on their hands. And with the second screen experience continuing to grow, people watching TV, whether streaming or broadcast, are used to having their phones in their hands. Technically, those are things that should work in Quibi’s favor.
But people who have time, don’t want to watch TV six minutes at a time. They certainly don’t want to watch it six minutes at a time while holding their phone in their hand. And they super, duper don’t want to watch TV six minutes at a time, while holding their phone in their hand, while they could be using that same phone to play Angry Birds while watching something on their actual TV (or computer.)
Plus, Quibi’s content just isn’t very good.
For more on the Quibi quandry and shocking news that saw TNT’s “Snowpiercer” adaptation stride into Emmy eligibility, swing by this week’s episode of “Millions of Screens” with TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, TV Deputy Editor Ben Travers, and Creative Producer Leo Garcia — unflinchingly recorded from the comfort of their three respective Los Angeles-area apartments.
Plus, stick around for the latest TV festival developments, as ATX announces it will shift to a virtual festival in June, meaning schedule shifts and badge adjustments for potential attendees. Will other fests follow suit? Time will tell.
“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.