Quibi CEO Meg Whitman discussed the Quibi downloads and the celebrity-fueled streaming service’s future in interviews on CNBC and Fox Business Monday morning. Whitman said the week one download number exceeded the company’s expectations and she added that 80 percent of viewers who started watching a show completed at least one episode. Like most other streaming services, Quibi — which releases episodes that are exclusively 10 minutes or less — does not regularly release viewership data.
Two analytics firms offered widely varying numbers on Quibi’s day-one downloads, but it’s assumed that the app was downloaded at least 300,000 times within 24 hours of launch. Whitman’s report indicates that Quibi’s momentum carried on throughout the rest of its launch week, though the numbers still pale in comparison to Disney+, which reported 10 million signups within a day of launch last November. Quibi boasts a large number of celebrity creators and series stars, and Katzenberg and Whitman raised $1.75 billion for the service.
Quibi launched in an unprecedented era for the entertainment industry, where stay at home orders and social distancing guidelines have thrown their on-the-go philosophy into question. Quibi is designed to only work on mobile devices and to be consumed in short increments rather than binged on a couch while at home. Deadline reported that Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg had previously considered delaying the launch due to the ongoing pandemic before deciding to offer a 90-day free trial of the service.
Regardless, Whitman indicated Quibi is preparing to adapt to global affairs; the company is making plans to allow the app to cast to televisions, which would allow users to watch Quibi’s myriad original series on larger screens while cooped up indoors. Whitman said that feature had always been planned but did not offer a time frame on when it would be available.
An ad-supported version of Quibi costs subscribers $4.99 per month, while the ad-free version runs $7.99 per month. IndieWire praised several of Quibi’s launch titles, including LeBron James documentary “I Promise,” the teen drama “When the Streetlights Go On,” and the “Run This City” documentary.