With Quibi’s official release last week, the overwhelming criticism of the new mobile-first video service was that—despite having a ton of content with a ton of star power behind it—the product was frustratingly limited in terms of streaming avenues. Everyone wanted it on their televisions even though Quibi has repeatedly told us that it wasn’t in the forecast for the app. But now the company’s CEO says Quibi is working on a feature that would allow users to cast streams to devices other than mobile.
Quibi’s whole schtick is high production value, short-form videos of 10 minutes or less that can be watched on the move or during those in-between moments where you have a few minutes to spare. Its Turnstyle technology is perfectly suited for it—any episode can be viewed in both landscape or in portrait without disturbing the quality of the picture or shrinking videos down to barely viewable postage stamps. In other words, on-the-go viewing is essentially the entire point of the service. But right now, that doesn’t make a lot of sense for users who are likely watching from home.
iOS users can technically stream on larger screens with an iPad, though it’s the iPhone version of the app and not one native for iPad. Prior to launch, Quibi told Gizmodo that it would “be listening to our users after launch about how and where they’d like to consume the Quibi shows.” Now, Quibi is expediting a casting feature that Quibi CEO Meg Whitman said was already in the works but that the company will “accelerate” due to covid-19.
“We’re talking to the engineering team about—we had always planned to cast to your TV—so we’re going to see if we can accelerate that in the engineering roadmap,” Whitman told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. “We’ll eventually get there but it was never a part of the launch. If we’d known about [covid-19], maybe it would have been.”
Whitman had previously told Variety that the service would support casting eventually, though a timeline for the feature wasn’t clear. Quibi didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
In any event, despite the service currently being limited to mobile, Whitman told CNBC that the service saw 1.7 million downloads in the first week—which definitely sounds a lot better than the meager 300,000 downloads estimated to have been downloaded the first day. If Quibi does give people more options for ways to watch, other than on a screen of just a few inches, it’s highly bingeable bite-sized episodes may have a chance at winning over us olds after all.