Founded by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi is geared towards millennial streamers. Numerous high-profile studios have invested in the unique entertainment platform, most notably The Walt Disney Company, where Katzenberg served as a chairman from 1984 to 1994 before co-founding DreamWorks Animation. WarnerMedia, Sony Pictures, NBCUniversal, and other companies have also invested in the platform.
With the launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, the streaming wars continue to escalate. In past years, both Netflix and Amazon Prime have emerged as perennial awards season contenders, while Hulu is a popular destination for original programming as well. Art house cinephiles utilize Criterion Channel for indie and international classics, while Shudder is specifically designed for horror enthusiasts. Moving forward, streaming services will need to innovate with their format and content delivery. That’s where Quibi could be a game-changer.
In 2019, streamers like to binge entire series at one time or play familiar TV episodes as background noise. Feature film releases have become pop culture events, especially Martin Scorsese’s 2019 Netflix film The Irishman. Quibi asks for a different type of investment from subscribers, however.
What Is Quibi?
Quibi aims to provide “quick bites” of premium content to subscribers. Unlike traditional networks that air 22-minute episodes, or platforms like Netflix and HBO that have TV episodes with runtimes that nearly match a feature film, Quibi guarantees high quality content under 10 minutes. In addition, Quibi can’t be accessed through a laptop or smart TV. The service is designed specifically for mobile devices, which means that Quibi will be ideal for people who utilize mass transit systems, or for those who simply want to consume high-quality content in small bits.
Quibi has invested over $1 billion for its first year of content, which includes at least 7,000 episodes. Given the concept, filmmakers will have to be even more efficient with their storytelling, or perhaps take an experimental approach to keep subscribers intrigued and engaged. Crucially, Quibi has enlisted big Hollywood names for its upcoming launch, including one of cinema’s most acclaimed filmmakers.
Quibi’s Upcoming Content
Quibi's original series lineup includes "quick bites" from legendary Hollywood filmmakers. In addition, Quibi productions will include A-list movie and televisions stars, along with numerous emerging performers and familiar faces. Here's the lineup that will headline Quibi's launch.
50 States of Fear: A horror series from filmmaker Sam Raimi, the filmmaker best known creating the Evil Dead movie franchise, and for directing the Spider-Man trilogy featuring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst.
Action Scene: A comedy series starring Kevin Hart as a fictionalized version of himself. For the premise, Hart's character will reportedly lose out on a big role, and then be joined by numerous action stars in a redemption narrative.
Beauty: Starring Tyra Banks, Beauty is a docuseries that celebrates “being beautiful.” An iconic supermodel, Banks created the hugely popular reality series America's Next Top Model, which provided a platform for some of today's most well-known models, all the while changing the industry with its progressive concepts.
Centrepiece: A floral-arrangement docuseries featuring florist Maurice Harris. Both Rashida Jones (The Office) and Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) are executive producers. Harris owns the Los Angeles studio Bloom & Plume.
Chrissy’s Court: A courtroom comedy series starring Chrissy Teigen, along with her mother Vilailuck "Pepper Thai" Teigen. In pop culture, Teigen is known for her modeling career and entertaining social media accounts. She currently hosts Paramount Network’s Lip Sync Battle.
Daily Essentials: Exclusive curated news and episodes from ESPN. Quibi will also feature two celebrity news shows, in collaboration with TMZ.
Don’t Look Deeper: A science fiction drama series, co-written by Lost co-creator Jeffrey Lieber, starring Don Cheadle, Emily Mortimer, and Helena Howard. Set in California, Don't Look Deeper will the follow the strange journey of a high school girl who sees into the future.
Elba vs. Block: A car stunt series starring Idris Elba and Ken Block. The two men will compete against each other at London's Docklands.
Frat Boy Genius: A fictional series based on Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel. Written by Elissa Karasik, the screenplay was ranked #1 on the latest Black List, a industry guide for un-produced scripts.
#FreeRayShawn: Directed by Antoine Fuqua, #FreeRayShawn is a drama featuring Stephan James as an Iraq War veteran and Laurence Fishburne as a New Orleans police officer. The story explores how a black man is framed by local police. Fuqua is best known for directing the Denzel Washington-led films Training Day, The Equalizer, and The Magnificent Seven.
How They Made Her: Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, How They Made Her is a series about an artificial intelligence character. Hardwicke is best known for helming Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, and the American version of Miss Bala.
Justin Timberbale Series (Untitled): A sports-themed series about inspiration. Kobe Bryant is rumored to be a co-producer.
Kill the Efrons: A survival series featuring Zac Efron and brother Dylan at a remote location. Zac Efron portrayed Troy Bolton in the High School Musical franchise, and also starred as Ted Bundy in Netflix's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.
Spielberg’s After Dark: From the iconic Steven Spielberg, After Dark is a horror series that will only be available to watch at night, based on user’s mobile settings. In recent years, Spielberg has been vocal about the value of theatrical movie experiences, so it will be interesting to see how he approaches a series designed for phones.
Thanks a Million: A reality series in which Jennifer Lopez and others reach out to childhood influencers and give them $100,000 each, with the recipient then paying it forward by giving $50,000 to someone else. Lopez stars in the 2019 film Hustlers.
The Fugitive: Starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook, The Fugitive is a series based on the original '60 TV series.
Wolves and Villagers: A horror series starring Naomi Watts from Blumhouse.
You Ain’t Got These: A docuseries about fashion and shoe culture from Lena Waithe. Waithe is best known as the creator of Showtime's The Chi, and for her acting work in Ready Player One and Dear White People.
Quibi’s Launch Date
Quibi will launch on April 6, 2020. The streaming service will have two subscription options: $5 per month with limited advertising, and $8 per month, ad-free.