Everything We Know About the Streaming Service Quibi

Whether you like it or not, the list of streaming content services continues to grow like some kind of Gigantamaxing Pikachu. Everybody and their droid has heard about Disney+ and its flagship show, The Mandalorian, and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max service will launch with a couch-punishing 10,000 hours of TV and movies. Considering how inundated the streaming game is at this point with big players like those, it kind of makes sense that one of its newest entrants, Quibi, aims to only offer “quick bites” of entertainment.

But because we’d bet that you’ve never even heard of Quibi, we’ve put together a little guide of all the essential facts you need to know about the service at this point in time. And while it may seem like this streaming service will simply be buried underneath the myriad media offerings available from the other services, keep in mind that Hollywood and tech titans Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are the company’s founders. And if that’s not intriguing enough to grab your attention, maybe the service’s list of bite-sized shows from major film and TV producers will be. (Check out Katzenberg and Whitman discussing the origins of the service in the video above.)

What Is Quibi?

It’s a mobile streaming service set to launch on April 6, 2020. According to The Los Angeles Times, Quibi will initially be a T-Mobile offering, giving it a pool of roughly 83.1 million possible subscribers right off the bat. Of course it’s impossible to say at this point how many of those people will actually sign up, but Quibi has already sold $100 million of commercial time to advertisers, which means at least a handful of corporations are betting on its success.

Wait just a second though: Did we say “commercials”?! Yes, we did, because there will be two tiers to Quibi, one that contains commercials and one that doesn’t. The tier that will include ads is priced at $4.99/month; the one without, at $7.99/month. Although, as the Times notes, it’s unclear at this point if anybody in particular, like early adopting T-mobile customers, will receive some kind of discount. If the discounts end up being anything like what’s being offered by HBO Max, however, a whole lot of sleuthing is going to be required to figure out who has access to them and who doesn’t, anyway.

As far as the actual content people will be able to stream, as the service’s name—a portmanteau of “quick bites”—implies, all of the content will be short, and, hopefully, sweet. Episodes of the content available on the service will max out at 10 minutes, and, according to a statement released by Whitman (quoted by the Times), will be aimed squarely at Millennials. The range of content will be just as extensive as any other major streaming service though, with everything from dramas to comedies to talk shows to documentaries all on tap.

What Content Is Coming to Quibi?

Speaking of content on tap, the list of media properties set to premiere on the service, as well as producers lined up to make said media properties, is already longer than nighttime in a Game of Thrones episode. Below is a list highlighting some of the most exciting projects coming to the service:

Some of the scripted content: 

Action Scene – A comedy series starring Kevin Hart, who plays a fictional version of himself. When Hart’s character is passed on for a role in a big-time action flick, he finds himself making his way through various action sequences with the guidance of established Hollywood action icons.

After Dark – Not much is known about After Dark, but it’s being produced by Steven Spielberg, who came up with the idea after speaking with Katzenberg. One gimmick has already been announced though: The show will only be available at nighttime, after the sun has gone down.

Dummy – Anna Kendrick will star in and executive produce Dummy, a buddy comedy that follows an aspiring writer and a sex doll belonging to her boyfriend.

Last ResortLast Resort is a comedy set in a Hawaiian resort, and is being produced by Dwayne Johnson and Paul Feig. The show kicks off when the Polynesian family owning the Hawaiian resort receives an offer from a billionaire for their land.

Survive A thriller about two survivors of a plane crash, starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins (BlacKkKlansman). After their plane crashes, the pair are forced to face one dangerous obstacle after another as they make their way across the wilderness.

Varsity Blues – A contemporary take on the eponymous 1999 film. Like the film, the new series will star James Van Der Beek, and is being made by the original movie’s producer.

Wolves and Villagers – This psychological thriller series will feature Naomi Watts, and will be produced by Blumhouse TV. Not much has been revealed about the plot, other than it is in the same vein as Fatal Attraction.

Wireless – Tye Sheridan stars in this Steven Soderbergh-produced drama about a college student stranded in the mountains whose smartphone is his key to survival.

Some of the unscripted content: 

60 in 6 – A bite-sized take on the legendary news program, 60 Minutes. Each six-minute episode will contain a unique, original news story.

Beauty – This docuseries will star Tyra Banks, and will aim to redefine beauty as we know it. The show, which will also be produced by Banks, will focus in on societal standards of beauty and their origins.

Chrissy’s Court – Model and media personality Chrissy Teigen plays a Judge Judy type role in this comedic unscripted series. Teigen will adjudicate real-life small-claims court disputes and her mother, “Pepper Thai” Teigen, will be the bailiff.

Elba vs. BlockElba vs. Block will center on Idris Elba and Ken Block, a professional rally car driver. The two will compete in a series of driving stunts to see who is the better driver.

Punk’d and Singled Out – Reboots of both MTV shows from the early and mid-2000s. It’s unclear how different they will be from the originals.

Thanks a Million – Starring Jennifer Lopez, the series will feature 10 people giving away $100,000 to influential people from their early lives. Each person who receives the cash, however, will have to pay it forward. It seems that every time the cash is paid forward, it will be cut in half. (With the person receiving $100,000 passing off $50,000 to the person who influenced them, etc.)

Killing Zac Efron – The adventure series follows the actor and a guide partner as they head to “the jungles of a remote island” for 21 days with northing but basic survival gear.

Cup of Joe – An eight-part travel series starring Joe Jonas. Inspired by his Instagram account of the same name, the series follows the Jonas brother as he explores cities all over the world—which have not yet been named—through the lens of a local.

Other content highlights: 

Along with all of those shows from big-name actors, producers, directors, and writers, there will also be tons and tons of other content that has yet to be described in the same amount of detail. Cara Delevingne will have her own show based around stunts and practical jokes she and some female accomplices will pull off; Trevor Noah of The Daily Show will have his own travel show that will take him to all corners of the U.S.; Stephen Curry will have an as-yet-untitled series about a basketball team at a high school in Newark, New Jersey; and music mogul Scooter Braun will have his own music competition show where he serves as a judge.

On top of all of that, Quibi will also offer news and sports shows from the likes of NBC News, BBC News, ESPN, Telemundo, TMZ, Your Daily Horoscope, and Vox Media.

Other Details You May Want to Know

If all of that content sounds appealing to you, then you may be looking at dropping another $5 or $8 on another streaming service every month. But the content isn’t supposed to be the only draw to the service. There will also be some gimmicks to help differentiate the content from everything else that’s being pumped out by other streaming services. For example, some shows will allow viewers to experience different points of view in the show depending on the way their phones are held.

The service will initially offer 7,000 pieces of content in its first year. The content will be divided up into categories that include long-form narrative series; alternative content series (like documentaries and reality TV shows); and bits of daily news, dubbed Daily Essentials, targeted at millennials.

Looking forward, it’s obviously hard to say how successful something like Quibi will be, although the team behind the service certainly has its work cut out for them. Not only will Quibi face competition from all the big streaming players like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Disney, but will also have to differentiate itself from short-form-content kings like YouTube. The platform will also have to take into account the failures of unsuccessful mobile platforms, like Verizon’s now-defunct go90 content service. However, with an already-impressive slate of programming, Quibi could manage to crack the code.

Feature image: Producers Guild of America