One of the earlier articles on Infokoala talked about Disney’s cut-throat competition as it entered the online streaming market. The market is already swamped with competitors like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. All of these OTTs offer exclusive content of their own and they differ by huge margins. Netflix has seen a tremendous rise in screen-time and is busy stacking up its library with content, due to the lockdown. Same is the case with other OTTs.
In such uncertain times, there is one more competitor whom no one has actually paid attention to. It has managed to slowly eat away consumers from these platforms.
THE ALL NEW QUIBI
Quibi is a new video-streaming app intended for watching on the go. This app is certainly long-hyped, however, it do offer a savvy deal. Quibi is a mobile-centric streaming platform that offers content in small bites.
The term Quibi itself is a mashed-up form for “Quick Bytes”. All episodes on this app last for less than 10 minutes. Now this something that feels off to me when considering its release time. People are currently packed in their houses and are finding ways to escape boredom. Binge-watching is one of them. On a regular day before COVID19, I would have considered quibi a must-use app. But today, it doesn’t feel like it is worth the deal.
However, it does make up for its timing by offering us 90 days of free TV streaming. This means by the time things do get normal, the company expects us to get hooked to this app. Who knows? Maybe we do.
After that it will cost $4.99 for ad-supported and $7.99 for ad-free streaming after that.
With respect to the competition with Disney, Katzenberg said,
“We’re in a marathon, not a sprint. Disney+ is a 100-year brand with the most valued and important generational IP on Earth, ever. We’re a different use case, and we don’t have the same brand recognition. So, we don’t think we’ll take off like a rocketship. We think it’s something we build over the course of several years.”
QUIBI’s MANAGEMENT INSIGHTS
The app launched on 4th of April and works on a subscription-based model similar to Netflix. Jeffrey Katzenberg is the founder of this company. Another brain behind the product is Margaret Cushing Whitman, also called Meg Whitman, who is the CEO of Quibi. Fun fact, both of them have worked together previously at Disney in the late 1980s.
Quibi launched with 50 original shows, including ‘Elba vs. Block,’ ‘Shape of Pasta,’ ‘Nikki Fre$h,’ ‘Survive,’ Punk’d’ and ‘NightGowns.’
Opinions in Hollywood are varied on the relevance of this app. Some believe that when viewers have options to watch so much free content why would they pay for something more. While another perspective helped Quibi managed to raise funds equivalent to $1 billion in August 2018 from investors like Sony, Alibaba and Disney itself. In its second funding round it raised $750 million and is currently valued at $1.8 billion by Crunchbase.
Currently it boasts of 13 investors.
QUIBI’s CONTENT AND SUBSCRIBERS
Quibi has promised to deliver content that differs from the rest and till now it has kept its promise. As of now, all production houses are shut down and therefore, there is no shooting going on. That means there is practically no scope for new content on this app for a long time. This is where things take turn. Quibi has been stacking up shows since September and that also includes short bites from Steven Spielberg himself. This provides it an edge over others. Implying that, consumers looking for new content will automatically go towards Quibi. Not to forget that the company is planning to invest $400 million to promote itself. Now that is one hell of a promotion.
According to an article by The Wrap, Sensor Tower claims that Quibi managed to get onboard 830,000 Subscribers in the first 3 days of its launch. But the company has refused to comment on the numbers till the free period gets over.
WHAT’S A COMPANY WITHOUT A CONTROVERSY?
Even though a controversy might be a good way to be in the limelight. This is certainly not the right time for such things, considering everyone is glued to their TV screens for most parts of the day.
One of the signature features that Quibi boasts of is Turnstyle. It displays a full- screen video, depending on whether the user is holding the phone vertically or horizontally. Meaning we can seamlessly switch anytime we want. I might add, it is as unique as the company claims it is.
In the words of a cameraman, the same scene is simply filmed via different lenses at the same time. This doesn’t mean more work for the actors either. As of now, the format is patent-pending.
The problem is that Eko, a New York based tech firm claims that Quibi stole its technology. As per Forbes, the company claims two Quibi employees, who were provided access to its subsidiary’s technology while working at Snap, stole its idea.
A Quibi spokesperson issued a statement denying that, saying Eko’s claims lack merit.
This is where the picture becomes larger. Elliott Management Corporation, an American Investment Management Firm has agreed to back Eko’s lawsuit against Quibi.
Elliott is one of the oldest fund managers of its kind and this lawsuit is deemed to pit two tycoons against each other. What is even more interesting is that Elliott Management is a hedge fund which has previously battled against Twitter and AT&T.
In the case of AT&T, Elliott Management ended up taking a $3.2 billion stake in the company. While in Twitter, the size of stake hasn’t been disclosed yet. Even though Paul Singer’s Elliott Management is pushing forward to remove Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey.
These instances are enough to prove the merit of the company. The battle won’t be easy for Quibi either. But it would be interesting to see how events unfold.
It is too early to determine the fate of Quibi. It is estimated that Quibi might lose around half a billion dollars in operational costs this year. But the continuous investment by big tycoons is keeping the company afloat for now. Once major lockdown impositions are removed and life gets back to normal, that is when Quibi will see its actual response.