08:27 13th Jan, 2020
Ever Heard of Quibi? Steven Spielberg Has!
The company has been flying under the radar for close to two years now in the video streaming space and is all set to launch in the Spring of this decade
Do a web search for Quibi and the results suggest that the world doesn’t really understand what’s happening. ‘WTF is Quibi?” goes one headline while another states quite pompously that “I am a Millennial, I Don’t Understand What Quibi is Trying to Do” while a third attempts to explain what the video start-up is seeking to do.
Then there is a Wikipedia page that proclaims that “Quibi is an upcoming American short-form mobile video platform headquartered in Los Angeles, California, founded in 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg and scheduled to launch on April 6, 2020.” Information is sketchy, which is what makes Quibi an enigma wrapped in a mystery.
At Techtree.com, we set out to find some relevant stuff around the company which has attracted someone like Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro to sign up. Sign-up for what, one may ask. When two of the world’s top directors agree to make short shows (of up to 10 minutes) for a start-up, there is every reason for the rest of us mere mortals to take note.
The company appeared at CES 2020 though once again the reactions were quite polarized. Before we delve into the details, let’s look at what the company is out to do. The company’s videos work in both portrait and landscape mode. Duh! Don’t all videos do that? Well, yes, they do. It’s just that Quibi does so without losing any of what matters.
The Quibi video at the tech fest in Las Vegas last week shows everything that we need to know on why it matters. In fact, investor Jeffrey Katzenberg claims that the company isn’t direct competition to other streaming services such as Netflix or Disney+. “We don’t think we are the streaming wars,” claims the founder of DreamWorks and former boss at Walt Disney in an interview with TheVerge.com.
He simply claims that the company is after the smartphones only. His partner in crime is Meg Whitman, who was CEO at HP and eBay some time ago and the duo has managed to raise the interest of the VC community by getting them to cough up a staggering $1 billion on the mere promise of getting Hollywood stars and some cutting-edge video-streaming tech.
And what does Quibi stand for? It is the shortened version of quick bites which is how users would experience the app on their smartphones, given that nothing on it would take more than ten minutes to consume. Priced at $5 or $8 a month depending upon whether you want to see ads or not, the service is slated to launch on April 6, 2020.
And what is this cutting-edge technology that Quibi seems to swear by? A post in Engadget.com captures things vividly. Turnstyle, a patent-pending technology allows every video would play both portrait and landscape formats at once with the audio track keeping them in sync.
In other words, users would not see black bards around the shows no matter how one holds the smartphone. “That’s a huge step up from every other mobile video solution today – if you are watching a widescreen movie, you're forced to go landscape. And if you're a Snapchat addict, you're mostly stuck with portrait,” the article says.
There is also the option of interactivity while watching the video as their video suggests whereby one can watch a movie in landscape mode and flip over to portrait whereby Quibi automatically switches to the screen of one of the main characters of the story. Delicious? Yes, but only if content creators can use it to shock us with their creativity.
However, what now remains to be seen is how the company plans to hard sell the product to a market already reeling under a deluge of entertainment-led content. Of course, there is also the small bit about Quibi not being available for streaming on to larger screens yet.
Both Meg and Jeffrey are hoping that the power of content would be enough to force users to check out Quibi and once they do so, the company is quite positive that they would never be able to leave. Why? Because they plan more than 175 original shows in the first year, all with the biggest of stars from Hollywood.
Now, imagine what Indian movie makers can do with something like this?
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