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Quibi: The High-Tech App Stuffed With Straight-to-VCR Content

So far, so bewildering, but what else do we know?

  • Quibi launched on April 6 and the app has been downloaded over 2 million times already.
  • There are three categories of TV show on Quibi: Series in Chapters (sitcoms, reality shows); Unscripted and Documentaries; and News.
  • Series are cut into short chapters, under ten minutes each. Typically, the full length of a series is about two and a half hours.
  • It has a lot of TV and moviestars on board. Think Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Spielberg; think the 1990s and you’ve got a good sense of what’s going on here.
  • The target market is “A 25-to-35-year-old, multicultural, diverse millennial audience.”
  • It has 50 shows already, with another 125 due before the end of 2020. Consider it the anti-Apple TV+, when it comes to content releases. New shows everywhere.
  • Quibi needs 12 million paying subscribers to break even. There is a free 90-day trial (you better believe that’s what I signed up for), then you can go for the $4.99/month option (ad supported), or $7.99/month (ad free).
  • The key feature is the “turnstyle” viewing, which allows viewers to switch from landscape to portrait viewing seamlessly. It is a welcome development and one that has been needed for a while now.
  • You can’t screenshot shows on Quibi. I tried for ages, assuming my phone was on the fritz, but they simply don’t allow it. Apparently, Netflix and Disney+ do the same thing.
  • Quibi is basically television for millennials, designed by boomers.

Is there room for Quibi?

Quibi arrived in the same month as NBC’s new Peacock streaming platform and joins what we could generously call a crowded field.

This hints at the possibility Quibi is offering a solution at the wrong time.

It is created for those intermittent moments we get to ourselves, during an otherwise frantic day. Twenty minutes on the train here, ten minutes in a dentist’s waiting room there.

But are the shows any good?

No.

Thanks A Million

I’ve only ever heard that phrase said passive-aggressively, but there’s no room for irony on this show.

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Elba vs. Block

I watched a couple of these episodes, actually.

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Dishmantled

Quibi claims to be “for millennials aged 25–35” and, given that I still hold a tenuous, slipping grip on the fringes of that demographic, I’m insulted.

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Punk’d

Yep, Punk’d. The 1990s influences come at you thick and fast on Quibi. A lot of the content is incredibly similar to that MTV era where they ditched the music and wheeled out cheesy dating shows instead.

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Ok, it’s not your thing, but what do the real TV critics think?

The press reaction has been mixed, as you’d expect from such a wide array of shows.

Well, what’s next on Quibi?

There’s a section on Quibi where you can see shows that are coming up soon.

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Quibi: The summary

What is so surprising about Quibi is that it could identify a problem with precision and then decide that the solution is to retrofit mediocre sitcoms into that space.

It feels like straight-to-VCR content in a high-tech app.

The viewing experience is better than other streaming apps and there are nifty features that I’m sure others will imitate.

Author of the world-famous https://hitech.substack.com/ I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was.

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