Quibi’s 30-second commercial at last week’s Super Bowl made many people ask, “What the hell is Quibi?” The series of advertisements tonight at the Oscars is Quibi’s best attempt to answer that question.
There are a total of five ads and these all take place in bizarre situations. An astronaut in space almost without air; an asteroid that is about to hit the earth; a cowboy tied to train tracks as a train approaches; and even a zombie outbreak. The concept of each ad essentially means that people have time to watch a single Quibi episode, even if they are at risk because they are so short. The ads have been uploaded to Quibi’s YouTube account prior to the show.
Quibi, the short video streaming service from famous Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman, is one of the newest players in the streaming wars. Unlike incoming platforms such as WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Quibi does not want to compete with Netflix and Disney Plus. Instead, Quibi wants to compete with social platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok for people’s attention. The goal is to attract the attention of people who spend on apps such as YouTube while waiting for a cup of coffee or on the bus, and to sell them on highly produced series that prefer quality over quantity.
Many of the top shows and films from Quibi come from the best studios in Hollywood and they have the right budget. Some of those projects cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make, up to $ 125,000 per minute. That amounts to around $ 7.5 million per episode – or about the same as early Game of Thrones episodes. Zac Efron, Idris Elba, Kristen Bell, Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Tyra Banks, Steph Curry, 50 Cent, and Avengers: Endgame Drivers Anthony and Joe Russo are all making original Quibi series.
(Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The edge, has a deal with Quibi for one Polygon Daily Essential, and there have been early conversations about one Verge show.)
The biggest problem that Quibi faces is that people sign up. Quibi costs $ 4.99 per month with advertisements and $ 7.99 per month without advertisements. That is higher than Disney + and Apple TV Plus, with major Hollywood stars and huge franchises. The streamer works together with T-Mobile, but it is unclear what the deal will look like. Disney worked with Verizon when Disney + was launched in November 2019, giving Verizon customers a free year of service.
Quibi is officially launched on April 6.