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Quibi Promises to Fix the Second-Worst Thing About Quibi

Illustration for article titled Quibi Promises to Fix the Second-Worst Thing About Quibi
Image: Quibi

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.

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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.

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“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.

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DISCUSSION

wekilledbambi03
wekilledbambi03

I got this FREE with Tmobile, and I was still kinda disappointed. I just don’t get the appeal of short shows. It’s just not long enough to make things seem worthwhile.

For example the show “SKRRT” (yes thats the name, like the sound of a screeching tire) is a car show hosted by a rapper Offset. One episode he tests an outlandish bulletproof car. But 3 of the 6 minutes of the episode are just shooting it. 1 minute is literally him reading the list of features on the website to the salesman. It’s a passable episode, if a little light on content (still fun to watch people shoot a car window).

The next episode he is with Jay Leno, a legendary car collector and comedian. They take 2 minutes looking at old cars then go for a drive in one. Jay tells a 2 sentence story about rebuilding his first car with his dad, sweet. Then Offset says he bought his first car with $22k he found in a briefcase behind his moms house. Then it just cuts to minutes later with Jay talking about the car again. There is no way that Jay didn’t have at least some funny comment on that purchase. But they just cut what probably would have been the best joke in the episode. If they had an extra minute they could have fit it in there.