Quibi Comes to TVs Next Month, Sort Of

Illustration for article titled Quibi Comes to TVs Next Month, Sort Of
Image: Quibi

Quibi’s solution to its big no-TV problem could be rolled out as soon as next month, according to its founder.

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Speaking with Reuters, founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said that some Quibi users would have support for TV casting beginning in May. (We reached out to Quibi for additional information but did not immediately hear back.) While Katzenberg said he believes that Quibi’s pandemic launch was strong (it wasn’t), he also said he thinks the sooner folks are able to return to their normal routines, the sooner we’ll “actually get to see how successful and valuable Quibi could be to its customers.”

And he’s right. Quibi’s entire use case—a streaming service for people on the go, featuring series with episodes of 10 minutes or fewer—just doesn’t make a lot of sense right now with so many people self-isolating and sheltering at home amid the covid-19 outbreak. Quibi’s launch day numbers were, well, not great. But it’s hard not to wonder if part of the reason is simply that a lot of people are home with much larger screens right now. Why would you opt to watch TV on your phone when you have access to your laptop, TV, or other, much larger screens?

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At launch, the largest possible screen that you could stream on was an iPad, but only through a non-native iPhone app. But the company did say it would listen to user feedback and address support on other tablets or devices accordingly. And, unsurprisingly, people want more ways to watch. Following the service’s launch earlier this month, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman said that the company had plans to “accelerate that [casting support] in the engineering roadmap” as a result of covid-19.

As for Quibi’s content, it’s definitely not for everyone. But I’m of the mind that more people might take Quibi up on its 90-day free trial if they aren’t forced to watch on a screen that’s just a few inches wide. But Quibi will also need to battle for their attention given that virtually every other streaming service is making their content free right now. Support on desktop might help with that, but that sort of defeats the entire point of Quibi, doesn’t it?

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DISCUSSION

Even if most people would use it while they were out and about, limiting where your users can use your product is really dumb. Why not make it available everywhere?