Quibi Nothing To Quibble About

January 13, 2020
January 13, 2020 Kate Neale

Quibi Nothing To Quibble About

Quibi (short for Quick Bites) is the mobile only short form content platform founded by Jeffery Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. The service has raised over US$1.4 billion and secured the resources of some high profile and high powered talent to lead the charge in the creation of its original content catalogue. It has also already partnered brands such as T-Mobile with bundling initiatives and pre-sold its entire first year advertising budget in advance.

What do they know that you don’t? Perhaps they’re just recognising that the emerging generations are living their lives increasingly through the screen of their mobile device; have a quicker uptake and lower attention span; they want a constant stream of quality content; they generally have less responsibilities and therefore more disposable time; they are transported more than transporting themselves; and all this makes ‘snackable made for small screen content’ very attractive.

Scheduled for release in the US April 20, 2020, the subscription only service targets 18-34 yr olds with access for US$4.99 p/m with ads, or US$7.99 ad free. Quibi expects to have 175 shows available first year and three hours of new ‘quick bite’ content each weekday.

Quick Bites are shows 10 mins or less in duration, at introduction at least they will have a focus on food, sport, doco’s and unscripted. The content can be movies told in chapters, episodic shows and their Daily Essentials (five or six minute news items created in association with BBC, Viacom, NBC, CBS.

Advertisers are on board to create 6-10 second ads and they’re encouraged to deliver episodic formats to build upon each entry, to build anticipation and engagement. Ad creative and format is extremely important with the bulk of the audience expected to sign up initially for the $4.99 (with ads) service.

Point of Difference: At launch Quibi see their competitive advantage as being a brand safe, millennial audience centric, mobile only feed format. There’s no website or TV aps and they see YouTube as their major competitor. The service offers some quirky perks of technology such as differing viewing perspectives by toggling between portrait or landscape viewing, or content access being restricted to time slots dictated by the settings on the mobile that indicate day or nighttime.

The latter feature being touted as point of difference in Steven Spielberg’s first offering for Quibi which is in the popular horror genre ie. Download is synced to your phone so you won’t be able to watch it unless you’re in a ‘dark’ timezone ie. nighttime. Ironically co-founder Meg Whitman has announced the channel will be predominantly at 7am-7pm service.

Tent Pole Production Talent: High end talent on and off screen such as Steven Spielberg, Idris Elba, Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lopez,  Zac Efron, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, have been recruited to produce shows (see list here). The content style is short form, in episodic format designed for consumption in those daily moments ‘while you wait’ eg. in transit, in a queue or as you wait for – anything! It’s content snacking with quality, engaging content and it’s designed to stimulate new content consumption behaviour.

With production budgets touted of up to $100/k per minute or $1 million per episode, we can expect high production values. Most content currently produced on those budgets is long form episodic, a lot of it scripted series, designed for lounge room viewing. Quibi is not competing with this content.

Positioning: Quibi is life filler ‘while you wait’ content… It will compete directly against social media for the viewers attention. At first thought this might seem a lofty task until we realise social media has largely become commercial content, self produced self promotion that follows formulas created by a minority of instigators.

Fresh quality short form content is a strong competitive position against a barrage of marketing oriented messages or updates on what someone ate last night.

Stealing time from social media and establishing a strong competitive position might not be such a struggle if you build your position on quality, exclusive, relevant and entertaining short form content, that can be enjoyed in the ‘gaps’ of life. There’s a lot of news feeds out there, but I believe there’s also a gap for regularly updated, well edited and produced global snack form news.

Some may see the absence of a free content option as a stumbling block, but I suggest Quibi are not attempting to launch and position the service directly against long form or lounge room viewing options. Big screen and mobile have distinctly different uses and the content created on mobile platform Tik Tok may be short, but it’s raw, authentic, silly and UGC. Tik Tok is not a competitor and their users are not a Quibi target.

Quibi is selling on a distinctive content proposition. Quality content (produced by tent pole talent) and exclusive to Quibi; a constant stream of new content to retain freshness and a format of content that is specifically and ideally designed to fit lifestyle needs and the functions of a specific device.

I expect Quibi will also appeal to those over 35 and as the Internet turned 50 last year, it’s getting harder to find ‘older people’ who aren’t tech savvy enough to access Quibi on their phone. The subscription deal with T-Mobile will also go some way in generating awareness and aiding UX.

At it’s core, I think Quibi’s marketing strategy is aiming to create new consumer behaviour. Younger audiences are focused on mobile and the new content models Quibi is planning to introduce are designed to drive new content consumption patterns.

Quibi content is produced by tent pole talent, in short capsules for easy consumption in places where mobile is most user friendly. It has the ability to draw audience on quality, exclusivity and the hyperbole that that combination drives, as will as the appeal of ‘content snacking.’ To my way of thinking they know what they’re doing.

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