- Quibi, the mobile video streaming service launching in April, sold out its first-year ad inventory for $150 million. The company added cable network Discovery, General Mills, Taco Bell and T-Mobile to its previously announced lineup of AB InBev, Google, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Progressive and Walmart, TechCrunch reported.
- Quibi, short for "quick bites," is offering non-skippable pre-roll spots that are six, 10 and 15 seconds, setting the platform apart from Google's YouTube, which has some ads that can be skipped after a few seconds. The company also plans to experiment with other "innovative ad formats," sources told Variety.
- Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay and Hewlett Packard, announced Quibi's latest sales milestone at a Wall Street Journal conference this week in California. Quibi doesn't plan to introduce a smart TV version of its app that would compete more directly with over-the-top (OTT) services including Netflix and Hulu.
The streaming media market is getting much more crowded in the next year, making Quibi's ad sales of $150 million notable for a service that mobile users won't get to see until next April. The commitment by advertisers is a testament to the reputation of Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who developed enduring hit movie franchises as the former head of Walt Disney Studios and co-founder of DreamWorks Animation. Quibi's series will consist of shorter episodes that mobile viewers can watch while on the go, a trend that has helped to drive the popularity of video platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
Quibi's media sales also indicate that mobile marketers are looking for a brand-safe alternative to YouTube, TikTok and other social networks whose dependence on user-generated content makes them vulnerable to abuse. Major brands have repeatedly halted advertising on YouTube amid revelations that their ads appeared next to objectionable content like hate speech or violent extremism. TikTok recently removed accounts that showed Islamic State propaganda including videos of corpses paraded through streets and gun-toting militants, and this week launched a second "You're in Control" video series to promote safety features for young people. With Quibi, marketers might feel more assured that their ads appear amid conventional shows in a controlled environment like TV.
The new platform will cost $4.99 a month with ads, or $7.99 for the ad-free version, which may be low enough that consumers will sign up without feeling pressure to cancel another service. Quibi is entering an increasingly crowded market for streaming content as Apple, Disney, AT&T's WarnerMedia and Comcast's NBCUniversal plan to launch OTT services in the next seven months. Those platforms are more likely to be a threat to Netflix, whose viewership is mostly on connected TVs. By creating snackable content specifically for mobile platforms, Quibi is more aligned to compete with social media companies like Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter that are expanding their original video programming.