Mobile-only streaming service Quibi racked up 300,000 downloads when it launched on April 6 in the United States and Canada. As such, the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform captured the number three spot on the Apple App Store chart but landed at number 29 on Google Play’s rankings. The platform, which offers premium video content sectioned into increments of 10 minutes or less, currently hosts 51 movies and TV shows.
Breaking Down Quibi’s Launch Day Numbers
According to data gathered by analytics firm SensorTower, Quibi isn’t a breakout success or a stunning failure. In terms of first-day numbers, the service racked up only a fraction of the 4 million downloads Disney Plus did when it became available last November. On the other hand, the SVOD eclipsed the 45,000 subscribers HBO Now racked up on its 2015 launch day.
Quibi’s 300,000 download debut is probably due to two factors.
First off, the platform, which has $1.75 billion in funding, has had an eye-catching impressive rollout. The service, created by former DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, attracted a lot of attention because its content features a slew of Hollywood stars and filmmakers.
Quibi’s initial programming slate features Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Turner, Chance the Rapper, and Chrissy Teigen. Besides, A-list directors Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, and Sam Raimi have created original content for the service. The SVOD also made a big splash with consumers via a Super Bowl commercial and an extensive Apple App Store advertising campaign.
The service’s content is available in clips running 4 and 10 minutes in length. That format works for TikTok and YouTube videos, but it’s an odd presentation style for big-budget, star-studded movies and TV shows. Consequently, the service has generated significant brand awareness among the public but might not have broad appeal.
In addition, the SVOD is only accessible on mobile devices, a quality its founder intended as its greatest strength. However, the COVID-19 outbreak might’ve turned that attribute into the platform’s biggest weakness.
Quibi’s Prospects in the Coronavirus Era
As shown in its Super Bowl ad, Quibi’s creators aren’t pitching it toward people who like to binge-watch movies and TV shows. Instead, the platform’s creators made content suitable for consumption in quick bites while commuting and waiting for service. Unfortunately, coronavirus related government lockdown orders have greatly diminished the practices of traveling for work or standing in line.
As such, Quibi has launched at a time when it can’t function as an on the go distraction.
Notably, SVODs filled with long-form content like Netflix, Disney Plus, and HBO Now have experienced U.S. sign-up spikes because a lot of Americans are homebound right now. Quibi can’t capitalize on that trend because its shows and movies aren’t streamable on laptops or TVs.
Like all SVODs, Quibi’s ultimate success will depend on the quality of its offerings. Consumers have glommed onto Disney Plus because it features a range of well-made content for kids and adults. Conversely, Apple TV Plus hasn’t experienced a surge in membership sign-ups because its shows are…underwhelming.
Thus far, the platform’s programming has received mixed to positive reviews, which isn’t a terrible first impression. As things stand, Quibi might not take off until COVID-19 becomes a memory, and it has a large enough war chest to endure not being a smash hit right out of the gate.