Our top pick this week is Quibi, the new short-form video app from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. Quibi scored 300k downloads on its launch day, during what are clearly entirely unforeseeable global conditions. The 90 day free trial is a nice touch for an audience on a lockdown.
The app feels different, mobile-first, and designed for commuters, both from a UI and content perspective. These elements work together to create something that feels fresh and new. The player works well, switching seamlessly between landscape and portrait, and shows can be flicked through very easily with one hand.
The content is broad and diverse, to allow for lots of different experiments, as the app finds its core user base.
There’s drama in episodic 10 min clips, which feels too slow to properly immerse oneself into a story. But, the standout content is its daily essentials. News highlights shows from well known brands like NBC, Entertainment Weekly, BBC News, and the Weather Channel. These are well produced, informative pieces of content that satisfy, and serve as a showcase for these brands. They are also a welcome alternative to non-stop rolling headlines that can feel a little exhausting at the moment.
This interview with Jeffrey Katzenberg by Recode Media reveals his excitement about the new venture. He refers to it as something he’ll be working on over the next 10-20 years. He’s looking forward to learning from the data on how and what people enjoy watching on this platform, something that is much harder to read from the cinematic audiences he is used to.
Welcome Quibi, and good luck!