- Quibi, the mobile-video startup founded by former Disney and Dreamworks heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg, dropped plans to launch TV streaming apps and instead will focus on being a "mobile-only" service, unnamed sources told Digiday. Last fall, when the service was called "New TV," its distribution plans had included video apps for devices that stream video, such as Apple TV and Microsoft's Xbox.
- Quibi is still focused on producing movies for delivery in episodic form, such as 10-minute installments intended for mobile viewing. It also is seeking to buy daily programming and unscripted shows that will be released about every other week.
- The company is developing a video platform aimed at people while they're on the go. That includes support for vertical videos that make viewing easier for handheld devices and the ability to shift to horizontal video.
By focusing on video programming geared for mobile viewing, Quibi can avoid more direct competition with media heavyweights that are crowding into the streaming-video market that is mostly geared for connected TVs. For example, streaming pioneer Netflix has apps for smartphones and tablets, but the company said 70% of its viewing happens on a TV. Likewise, the planned video streaming services from Disney and Apple, among others, also are mostly aimed at reaching TV viewers who have canceled their cable or satellite subscriptions.
A significant positive trend for Quibl and other streaming platforms is the growth in mobile video viewing time. American adults spend about 40% of their daily digital video viewing time on mobile devices, reaching about 40 minutes a day, according to eMarketer. TV time will drop nine minutes this year, while digital video time will increase by eight minutes, per the forecast.
The shift from "mobile-first" to "mobile-only" make sense for Quibi, which will reportedly include a lower-price, ad-supported subscription and a higher-priced, ad-free one. Mobile video ads are a significant driver of digital media spending. U.S. mobile advertising grew 40% to $69.9 billion last year, making up 65% of total digital ad revenue, per an annual report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. Mobile video ads are forecast to grow as high-speed 5G mobile networks expand nationwide in the next few years.
Quibi seeks to fill what it sees as a void in video programming for mobile devices, including "snackable" content that viewers can watch outside the home, such as during a daily commute to work or school, or idle time waiting to do something else. However, the market for such programming has yet to be proven. Samsung, Comcast, Spotify, Vimeo, Verizon and Vivendi are among the major players that have entered and exited the field for mobile-first video content.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat and video-sharing sites like Google's YouTube also have original programming, including episodic series aimed at mobile audiences, but it's not clear whether any of their shows can be considered breakout hits. While Facebook can claim that it has a massive audience of 75 million daily viewers of is Watch video platform, for example, its shows have modest followings among the social network’s more than 2 billion users, Variety reported. Facebook in August 2017 created Watch as a video on-demand service for short-form content and premium shows, and planned to spend as much as $1 billion by the end of last year on original shows.