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Quibi Is the New Mobile-Only Platform Streaming TV Series and Movies in Ten-Minute Portions

It's packed with short shows from big names, including Sophie Turner, Chrissy Teigen and Steven Spielberg.
By Sarah Ward
April 08, 2020
By Sarah Ward
April 08, 2020

Another day, another streaming platform. While there's a service for everything these days — Disney flicks, documentaries, Aussie movies, films recommended by Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn and, soon, British television (just to name a couple) — the just-launched Quibi comes with a few twists. We hope you like glueing your eyes to your phone and watching everything in ten-minute chunks, because that's what's on offer with this newcomer.

It's all in the title, really, with Quibi shortened from 'quick bites'. Whether you're checking out a new version of Punk'd hosted by Chance the Rapper, seeing Chrissy Teigen preside over small claims cases in the Judge Judy-style Chrissy's Court or getting immersed in a Reese Witherspoon-narrated documentary series about females in natural history, you'll be doing so in small portions. And, you'll be watching on your mobile device of choice, because that's the only place the Quibi app is available.

Created by ex-Disney chairman and DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg, and led by former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi has been in the works since 2018 — and earning ample attention thanks to its huge stash of cash (reportedly raising $1.75 billion to spend on content), as well as its hefty array of stars and shows (including an upcoming remake of How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). But the service's arrival in Australia actually came as a surprise, with the platform touting a US launch on April 6, then becoming available Down Under on the same date.

That means Aussie viewers can now catch everything from dramas and comedies to news and reality TV in bite-sized chunks, with instalments maxing out at ten minutes but most running shorter (between five and eight minutes). Also on Quibi's lineup are 'movies in chapters', which are exactly what they sounds like — films broken down into episodic segments to fit the platform's whole concept.

Launching with a sizeable range titles — with an ultimate aim of hitting 175 different shows and 7000 episodes in its first year — Quibi highlights include mockumentary Nikki Fre$h, which follows Nicole Richie's efforts to become a wellness-focused rapper; cooking competition show Dishmantled, where host and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess shoots food at two culinary industry figures, then forces them to try to recreate the dish in question; and Lena Waithe-hosted documentary series You Ain't Got These, about sneaker culture. From the 'movies in chapters' lineup, there's also Flipped, starring Will Forte and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Kaitlin Olson as a down-on-their-luck couple desperate to host their own TV renovation series; Most Dangerous Game, the latest twist on the humans-hunting-humans idea, this time with Christoph Waltz and Liam Hemsworth; and Survive, which casts Game of Thrones' Sophie Turner as a suicidal patient suddenly forced to fight for her life after a plane crash.

If you're wondering about watching all of the above on your phone, Quibi is designed to play in full-screen no matter whether your handset is vertical or horizontal — with the image automatically changing as you move your device around.

And if you're thinking "clearly this is targeted for people watching on the go, such as on the train to work", you're spot-on. Thanks to COVID-19, of course, that's not how folks will be using the service for the near future, though.

That makes Quibi a Netflix-meets-YouTube streaming platform with plenty of things to watch, but a flimsy gimmick — or a poorly timed one, at least. Whether anyone wants to get their TV and movie fix on their phone while they're cooped up at home is one of the questions the service currently faces. The other is the lack of communal viewing, because no one wants to crowd around one handset to watch a show or film with their significant other.

Still, Quibi is betting that audiences will be interested anyway, with more big-name titles in the works. Serving up car-based stunts, Elba vs Block will see Idris Elba face off against professional rally driver Ken Block. And expect lots of cuteness in Barkitecture, which'll see the construction of OTT houses — for dogs. In the remake category, a new version of late 90s sports flick Varsity Blues is on the slate, as is a revival of comedy series Reno 911, as well as a Kiefer Sutherland-starring take on 60s TV series and 90s movie The Fugitive. Sci-fi movie Code 8 is getting a Quibi spinoff, starring Robbie and Stephen Amell, while Japanese horror manga Tomie is being adapted for the platform. And even Steven Spielberg is jumping on the bandwagon, courtesy of horror series Spielberg's After Dark.

For further details about Quibi, visit the streaming platform's website. To download the Quibi app, head to the App Store or GooglePlay — with a 90-day free trial currently available, and subscriptions costing AU$12.99 per month afterwards.

Top images: Survive and Barkitecture

Published on April 08, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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