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

Clark Boyd
10 min readApr 19, 2020


There’s a new streaming platform in town.

Yes, another one. We’ll all drown in these streams if we’re not careful.

But wait!

Quibi, founded by Hollywood mainstay and ex-Disney boss, Jeffrey Katzenberg, thinks it might just be different enough to work.

It has big-money backing, big-name stars, and tiny TV shows. Each episode is under ten minutes long and the content is designed for watching on a smarpthone or tablet.

There are comedies, dramas, feel-good reality shows, news, and just about everything else in the roughly 100 shows that are on there already.

Quibi has $1.75 billion in funding behind it, and the likes of NBC and Disney have invested heavily.

Although Quibi sounds like the kind of name you’d give to a cutesy mascot for the Montreal Olympics, it is apparently a portmanteau, combining the ‘qui’ and ‘bi’ parts of the phrase ‘quick bites’.

Look, I never said money bought taste.

Money does buy confidence, however.

At SXSW 2019 (remember events? remember outside?), Katzenberg boomed, “Five years from now, we want to come back on this stage and if we were successful, there will have been the era of movies, the era of television and the era of Quibi.”

“What Google is to search, Quibi will be to short-form video.” — Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi founder

Should they ever ditch the Quibi name, Hubris might just work.

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…



Clark Boyd

Tech/business writer, lecturer (Columbia), and data analyst. >500k views on Medium. I used to be with it, but then they changed what ‘it’ was.