Quibi, the video streaming service that no one asked for, has apparently only covered about 8% of early users into paying subscribers, according to a report from mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower via the Verge. That means of the supposed 910,000 people who downloaded Quibi in the app’s early days, only about 72,000 decided to continue after their three-month trial period ended.
That 92% dropoff rate is yikes. To be fair, an 8% conversion rate isn’t horrible on its own. But when you compare Quibi’s launch to say, Disney+, it starts to look a bit sad. Sensor Tower’s data says that Disney+ converted 11% of free trial users into subscribers. Not so much more than 8%, right? Well, no. Disney+ converted 11% of an initial 9.5 million downloads in its first three days from the U.S. and Canada. As of May, Variety reports that Disney+ has 54.5 million subscribers and app downloads skyrocketed 74% in the U.S. over the July 4th weekend thanks to that hip-hop musical everyone won’t shut up about.
To say Quibi’s launch has been rocky would be kind. The numbers for launch day downloads were dismal. Initially, the app didn’t support casting to your TV, forcing users to watch everything on their phones or iPad. Within a month of launching, the streaming service already had its first data leak. Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman apparently mesh as well as oil and water, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both of them also took 10% pay cuts in a bid to cut costs. Katzenberg has also publicly blamed the global pandemic as hobbling Quibi’s early days, and while it certainly had an impact, it’s clearly not Quibi’s only problem. This is to say nothing about Quibi’s ego problems, or the fact that despite getting some A-listers to star in Quibi content, it doesn’t have quite the catalog of original content like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney+, or even Apple TV+.
It doesn’t help that Quibi is not exactly forthcoming with information. While Sensor Tower says that 4.5 million have downloaded Quibi in total, the company disputes that number.
“The number of paid subscribers is incorrect by an order of magnitude. To date, over 5.6 million people have downloaded the Quibi app,” a Quibi spokesperson said in a statement sent to Gizmodo. “Our conversion from download to trial is above mobile app benchmarks, and we are seeing excellent conversion to paid subscribers—both among our 90-day free trial sign-ups from April, as well as our 14-day free trial sign-ups from May and June.” They did not give specifics on paid subscriber numbers.
Gizmodo also reached out to Sensor Tower but did not immediately receive a response. A Sensor Tower spokesperson did tell TechCrunch, however, that the gap is likely caused by the fact that it only counts first installs and that the same user re-downloading the app after deleting or onto another device wouldn’t count.
Regardless, the window for Quibi to blow up and become the next viral app has long since closed. TikTok has reigned supreme during the pandemic, while yet another competing service, NBC’s Peacock, will launch next week. Reports like Sensor Tower’s don’t help Quibi’s narrative either. Whichever way you look at it, Quibi is still a hot mess.