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Tag: Quibi

Editorials

Quibi: Where Does The Short Film Platform Go From Here?

July 7, 2020
Quibi

This April, Quibi, a unique streaming service launched. All of it’s content is designed to be “bitesized” around 10 minutes or less. Perfect for watching on a lunch break or on the tube. With some big names involved like Spielberg, Del Toro and Jason Blum involved, it seemed like it had potential to get to the big leagues. So why isn’t it?

Quibi launched right in the middle of the global pandemic when everyone had free time on their hands. With everyone stuck inside, they need longer series to keep invested in, rather than 10 minute long episodes. It is also only available in the US and Canada, although that wasn’t really an issue for Disney+. While it does seem that the release couldn’t really have come at a worse time, there are likely other factors.

Try before you buy

Quibi Dashboard
Quibi offerings feature a wide variety of genres (Source:TechHive)

Like most streaming services, Quibi is a paid service. While it does offer a 14-day free trial, it previously offered a 90 day when it first launched. The 90-day trial is a better representation of Quibi, which adds new content weekly. After the two week trial, there are two payment options, a $4.99 which is slightly cheaper than most streaming services but features ads. The other option removes the ads for $7.99. Most paid-for streaming services do not feature ads, with Netflix offering several plans based on how many people use the account.

Another problem unique to Quibi is its content. Because of the “bite-sized” nature of its content, it doesn’t have any existing content to tempt viewers. Whereas Netflix had the likes of Breaking Bad, and Disney has its vast library. Quibi only has original content which can be much harder to sell, especially when you only have 15 minutes of a show. While it might have some top talent involved, it’s hard to get people invested in a show that only has one 15 minute long episode.

(Don’t) Tell your friends

One of the big reasons Netflix gets shows to go viral is because it actively starts conversations. When new shows like Tiger King or Bird Box are released, the twitter account engages with it. By actively encouraging discussion and showing clips or sharing memes, Netflix helps build the conversation around its shows. By contrast, Quibi does not even allow users to take a screenshot whilst in the app, and no sharing onto social media, making it hard to grow buzz for a series without getting people to sign up for it and watch it themselves with little to no context.

Another issue is that Quibi is mobile-only, with no option to watch on a computer or cast to a TV. This has the unfortunate side effect of making it difficult for more than one person to watch any content on there. Watching a funny Youtube clip on a mate’s phone might be good at school, but it doesn’t really work in this context.

Where does Quibi fit in?

Quibi
Quibi doesn’t really offer much that can’t be found elsewhere (Credit: Quibi)

In a world where anyone can create short content and upload it to the internet on platforms like YouTube and TikTok, a paid service seems odd. While it has the benefit of big names, most of them are active on other platforms and have other much more exciting projects planned. Actors like Jack Black and Will Smith have their own YouTube channels, which viewers can watch for free, so why sign up for Quibi?

While the actual content on Quibi isn’t the issue, some of the more weird and high concept shows are perfect for the platform. However, a lot of the shows could go onto YouTube, which already has it’s own premium option. Also, YouTube already has access to new content it also allows other benefits.

While Quibi is an interesting idea, it appears that it just doesn’t have enough to make it stand out from existing platforms, it’s a combination of Netflix and YouTube which is interesting, but those platforms offer different things for a reason. Many of the shows on Quibi are well funded and produced, but seems like a lot of money to throw at shows that total little over 2 hours when finished. It still has a chance to recover and be successful, but only time will tell if that happens.

Also Read: Amazon To Own Odeon Cinemas?

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Editorials

Quibi And The Rise Of Short Films

December 30, 2019
Quibi Short films

The streaming wars are well underway, and while not every service has launched yet, they are starting to get expensive as people decide how many streaming services they actually need. While some platforms are getting by having access shows like “The Office” or “Friends” others are spending millions on exclusive content that people just have to see, whether for watercooler moments or awards potential.

Quibi, however, is trying something completely different- all of its programmings will be around 10 minutes or less (The name is a mash-up of “quick bites”). Its content is designed to be watched on a smartphone or tablet, perfect for on your break or waiting for the bus, similar to a lot of Snapchat’s content. but with added production value, as well as wider variety.

Who is supporting it?

Just some of the people developing projects for Quibi (Fortune, 2019)

The company has raised over $1 billion investment which it plans to spend on content, with 7,000 short episodes as a target. It has even attracted some big names, including Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi, Jason Blum, Anna Kendrick, Laurence Fishburne and Kiefer Sutherland all have projects that will debut on the platform, in a variety of different genres. “Spielberg’s After Dark” (Yes, that Spielberg) will only be available after dark (get it?) and will be unavailable during the daylight.

This kind of experimentation forms much of Quibi’s ethos, as well as most short films in general. The shorter format allows for some interesting results, with filmmakers being put under a short time limit or having a smaller budget they often have to get creative. Quibi hopes to be more creative and unique with its content than other streaming providers like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Short films have often been an important step on the road to feature films, with many directors honing their skills with shorts before directing their first feature. Films such as Taika Waititi’s “What We Do In The Shadows”, Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” and the original “Saw” film all started as short films before finally becoming the films we’re familiar with (The short film versions of these and a few others can be viewed online). These are often submitted to festivals such as the London Short Film Festival or Aesthetica Film Festival, in the hopes of gaining an audience. Some even have their own premieres before being posted online (Big Picture Film Club sometimes helps with this).

How will this change streaming?

Quibi is designed to be used on either a smartphone or tablet (credit: Quibi)

With such big creators focusing on short-form entertainment, Quibi could attract a lot of viewers that don’t have time in their lives to sit down and watch a three hour epic like The Irishman or binge all of Mr Robot. People have busy lives and, if Quibli is successful, we could see more content geared towards it. Short films could become much more popular. Feature films get released on platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, could we get short films released on there too? Having names like Spielberg, Del Toro would help create buzz, and move away from the “student film” label many shorts are given. It is also giving some projects a new lease of life. “When the Stree Lights Go on” was originally envisioned as a feature, then a series, and will now premiere as a series on Quibi.

How other platforms adapt to Quibi is a mystery, as it will launch in April of 2020, it is unlikely that the big streaming sites will suddenly only have short programming, but we may see a rise in it. As Co-Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said “Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television” rather it aims to have your attention instead of YouTube, Snapchat, or other apps used on your phone during the day. Although some people may rather wait for a full season and watch the short episodes all at once. The main issue it could come across is the subscription. Why would people pay when they can watch YouTube for free? (Which also has it’s own subscription model). Whether people will want to spend their commute watching “Biggest Little Cook-Off” or scrolling through Instagram remains to be seen.

If you would like to sign up to Quibi’s newsletter or apply to be a part of their team, you can do so here

Also Read: British Brown Girls: Short Films Re-Defining British Asian Women On-screen

More: Advice For Firest Time Independent Feature Filmmakers

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