Quibi claims to transform entertainment

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Quibi, the multi-billion-dollar streaming platform launching, is betting it can transform entertainment with short, Hollywood-quality clips to watch “on the go” — even as much of the world is trapped at home.

Industry legends and stars from Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro to Jennifer Lopez and Reese Witherspoon have lined up to make movies and shows for the youth-focused, smartphone-only service.

Tapping into the boom in mobile video viewing, all content will be delivered in clips of no more than 10 minutes — or “quick bites.” Every show must be made in both horizontal and vertical formats, automatically flipping between the two as viewers rotate their phones.

But Quibi’s plans were set long before the coronavirus pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders for billions of people around the globe — meaning nobody is quite sure how to measure success in the months ahead, its CEO told AFP.

“Honestly, we don’t know, because we are launching in unprecedented times,” said Meg Whitman, who previously led eBay. “I don’t think any of us have ever seen anything quite like this.”

While presumably fewer people will now watch during commutes or coffee breaks, self-isolation could prompt its own need for quick distractions, Quibi executives say.

“People still have in-between moments — it’s just different,” said Whitman. One such a moment, she suggested, could come when an exhausted parent takes a pause from homeschooling children.

“I live on Zoom calls all day,” she said, referring to the popular remote conferencing software. “But occasionally I’ll have 10 or 15 minutes between Zoom calls (and) I’ll watch a Quibi.”