Coronavirus — a blessing or curse for Quibi?
The new streaming service is still set for the April 6 launch
Everyone is feeling overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic. Staying at home with nothing better to do than watch TV or use your phone. But your lockdown is a dream come true for streaming services. And as Quibi — or Quick Bites — aims for the April 6 launch, an important question arises. Is the coronavirus pandemic a blessing or curse for the new guy on the block?
Quibi – Exclusive episodes less than 10 minutes:
Quibi may seem like just another subscription in a long list of streaming services. But it has two things that make it different from the lot. First, original shows with all episodes lasting 10 minutes or less. We all find ourselves with an awkward amount of time daily. Not long enough to watch an episode, but not short enough to wait it out. Quibi wants to capture that time span, which you would rather waste watching stories on Instagram. Second, it is an exclusive platform for smartphone users. The episodes are specifically shot to be viewed on a mobile screen. And the Turnstyle technology will help you watch the shows seamlessly, whether you are holding your phone vertically or horizontally.
The streaming service expects thousands of subscribers at launch. Since half of the world is under complete lockdown and have nothing better to do, the pandemic may prove to be a blessing for Quibi. But as people are holed up in their homes, so are the cast and crew that is supposed to work on the shows.
The coronavirus pandemic affects everyone:
The $2 billion investment was controversial, even before the coronavirus shut everything down. A section of Quibi’s shows is known as Daily Essentials. You will get to watch a 10-minute highlight of whatever topic each show focuses on. But as the lockdown has canceled studio production, it is time for hosts to get creative. They have converted garages and TV lounges into sets with stage lighting. Gaming TV show Speedrun host Jimmy Mondal is learning from DIY makeup tutorials on YouTube. Tim Kash who is hosting music show Pop5 is shooting from his garage.
Meanwhile, Quibi founder Jeff Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman also have their hands full. They had to cancel their launch party and shut down their HQ on March 16. They had to cancel auditions and cast photoshoots. But even though the launch is a week away, both of them are optimistic. CEO Whitman only expected two shows’ premiere to be delayed as she explained:
We have every confidence we’re going to be able to launch. We have the right content to launch, the technology is ready, our messaging has been out in the market. We’re ready to go.