They say our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. That's because we are able to get information faster than we ever have before. The idea of sitting down to read an entire newspaper is close to completely dead. Now you can scroll through hundreds of headlines.
Social media certainly doesn't help our attention spans. Why go out to the movie theater and sit down for two hours in front of a screen when you can watch a quick, one minute Instagram clip from the comfort of your own home. Time flies as you watch hundreds of microvideos.
The options are to either fight it, or to lean into our short attention spans. Certain social media platforms have had success leaning into short content, like Tik Tok and Vine, but the new service Quibi intends to bring Hollywood-level content to the small screen. With their Monday launch, let's see how they did.
Getting into the streaming game is no joke. There is a lot of competition, not just from the big players like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu. Smaller streaming sites like Shudder and Crunch Roll also vie for people's attention. At this point, some people have a bill comparable to cable TV with all that streaming power. That's why it was an exciting time on Monday when Quibi released to the public.
Quibi stands for Quick Bites. Their whole motto is that they provide prestige 10 minute series that only plays on your phone. Don't plan on getting any of their content on your TV or computer screen (yet?). Their patented technology also allows for content to dynamically shift between portrait and landscape mode. Ten minute series only available on your phone… sounds like a tough sell. So, was it?
Sensor Tower, a mobile analytics group, provided data on Quibi's first day of downloads. They estimate that between Apple and Android devices, Quibi was installed by 300,000 users. To put that in comparison to another new streaming site, Disney +, the mouse was able to get 4 million installs on its first day of release this past November. It is tough to compete against Disney, but Quibi is still doing OK regardless. They are currently the 4th ranked free app on the Apple App Store.
Quibi is built for people on the go, but at this current time as people are sheltering-in-place due to the Coronavirus, it isn't the optimal time for people to watch phone-only content. If anything, this is the perfect time to launch at-home entertainment, not mobile, but the Quibi team decided to launch anyway with a 90-day free trial.
Quibi is free for now, so the company won't be making any money for 90 days other than with their ads. After the 90 day trial period, users can either pay $4.99 a month for the service with ads, or $7.99 for the service without ads. It is hard to say how many users will continue paying.
Quibi has plenty of money behind it. They are able to put $470 million in marketing in their first year, plus the slate of content they already have working in the pipeline. Don't expect Coronavirus to slow down production on Quibi content either. They have enough already made to last until November. Will this be the future of streaming? Or will it fizzle out once users have to pay for an experience they can get for free or on Netflix?