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Big media empires like Disney and Apple are launching new over-the-top services to grab a share of the streaming market, but some are betting on a completely different platform. Hollywood director Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman have a new mobile short-form video platform called Quibi in the works. The name doesn’t roll off the tongue, but Quibi is a portmanteau of Quick Bites.
The Hollywood and Silicon Valley pair plans to raise an additional $1 billion, on top of the $1 billion already committed, to fund the service. The service won’t launch for at least another year, but it needs a serious budget to overcome the perils of launching a new platform against industry powerhouses Netflix, Amazon, and Disney. The Quibi duo has tentatively engaged Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi to produce new content and has a series about Snapchat in the works.
The $2 billion funding plan seems like a lot for an untested service, but any entertainment platform has to be serious to take on Netflix with its $15B content plan and Amazon’s reported “biggest budget in TV history” for an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Disney is also investing a truckload of cash into projects like Lucasfilm’s new trilogy of Star Wars films from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
Busy young adults are watching shorter video while on the train, or during a quick break between classes. Only 5% of young adults in the US mainly watch TV with a digital antenna, while 60% watch television via streaming services.
Quick Bites are short videos that engage viewers with taps and swipe navigation. Shot vertically, these popular short videos are consumed quickly. Like traditional programming, some are scripted and episodic, while others are reality-based interviews and DIY.
Twitch and YouTube are built around this type of user-generated content, with tons of original shorts and huge audiences. Snapchat has roughly a dozen original scripted series like Vanwatch, and Class of Lies and docuseries like Good Luck America. Instagram features vertical video on the standalone app IGTV like LaurDIY’s newest project or the comedy of King Bach.
There is a broad revolution in entertainment. It’s not just that people are getting rid of their cable or satellite subscriptions, they’re accessing programs on smaller devices that don’t follow the traditional rules of television programming. Industry experts are hoping to land on the new form of content that appeals to younger mobile viewers. We’ll likely see a small startup like Quibi revolutionize entertainment before being purchased and cloned by a bigger enterprise.
Megan Southard is a writer, mom, technology enthusiast, and movie junkie. She dreads the day her kids have to explain gadgets to her and is old enough to say, "I was the remote for our TV growing up."
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