Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi makes a quiet entry in the Indian OTT space

Without much humdrum, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s short video streaming service Quibi forayed into the Indian OTT landscape on 6 April. 

Launched amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the $1.75 billion-funded, Quibi (short for Quick bites) has a price of Rs 699/month for the ad-free service and is available for consumption only on smartphones.

Interested viewers can download it from the Google Play stores and the Apple store and try it free for 90 days before the monthly fee is charged. (The US version has two services ad-loaded at $4.99, and ad-free at $7.99 a month.)

Quibi has no long-form catalogue movies or shows, as every piece of content on it is 10 minutes or less and almost every one of them is an original. It launched with 50 shows, but the idea is to launch fresh content every week to take the catalogue up to 175. The content slate ranges from drama to comedy to documentaries to news to sports. On its launch day, Quibi saw over 300,000 downloads.

Quibi has a big plus – turnstile feature which allows viewers to seamlessly switch between landscape and vertical portrait views without affecting the viewing experience. In fact, each show is edited keeping these two views in mind and two streams are delivered.

Former eBay boss and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman stated at CES in Las Vegas in January that as compared to YouTube and platforms where shows were being made at $200 or $5,000 a minute, the spends on her service were $100,000 for a minute of content, speaking highly about its quality and the makers.

Among the top-notch creators who have been signed on for the service include: Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Lena Waithe and Catherine Hardwick. This apart, there are special news shows being added for it by NBC, BBC and Entertainment Weekly. 

Meg Whitman

Whitman shared in a LinkedIn post, “Quibi was created to entertain, inform, and inspire by reimagining the way mobile users consume premium video content on their phones. The world is a very different place today than it was even two weeks ago. It is our hope that Quibi will provide a small moment of laughter, inspiration, or information during this unprecedented moment in our lives. I am so proud of the hard work of the entire Quibi team who have poured their hearts into building this new technology platform from the ground up. And, thank you to everyone who has made this possible, from our incredible content creators to our outstanding brand partners.”

During CES, Katzenberg and Whitman had stated that the service was for consumption on the go, during metro commutes, lunch or tea breaks or when someone had 10 minutes or less to spend on entertainment. With most consumers at home in many nations courtesy the COVID-2019 lockdown, the duo can be sure that viewers during the trial period will probably consume way beyond that.