Based on numerous published reports, it might already be too late. Six months into its tumultuous life, Quibi has finally debuted a key adaptation for the home-confined pandemic market.
Earlier this week, the startup mobile-first streaming service introduced apps for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV (soon to be known as Google TV).
The respective apps work with all Fire TV and Fire TV Edition devices, as well as boxes, smart TVs and HDMI sticks running Android OS 7.1 and higher, and fourth-generation Apple TV devices.
Quibi still lacks support for the top connected TV device ecosystem, Roku.
Once they download their OTT app from their platform’s respective app store, subscribers to Quibi’s $4.99 service ($7.99 for a premium version with no ads) simply endure a short authentication process with their mobile device, and their service is effectively ported to their TV.
Quibi aggressively marketed its “Turnstyle” technology feature, which made intuitively switching back and forth between landscape and portrait viewing modes on a mobile device part of the story narratives for its shows, which are cut into “quick-bite” installments of 10 minutes or less.
But Turnstyle isn’t in play for Quibi’s connected TV apps, which all play Quibi shows in landscape mode.
Quibi was designed for on-the-go viewing for smart phones. But it launched into a market in which its target audience was largely stuck at home, with access to the living room TV. The service quickly scrambled to enable casting features, but this is the first time it has dedicated OTT apps.
Debuting in early April, Quibi’s struggle to build an audience base has been well documented in the media tech press. The latest report generating noise came earlier this week from subscription media-tech news site The Information, which quoted founder Jeffrey Katzenberg as telling colleagues that he might have to shut down the service if a buyer of assets can’t be found.
Katzenberg raised $1.8 billion to launch Quibi, paying high-profile film and TV industry producer talents top dollar—up to $100,000 per minute of programming, he conceded—to produce shows for the platform. Quibi has also been an aggressive national advertiser of late, plugging new shows including stranded motorist thriller Wireless during the NBA Playoffs on TNT, for example.
Katzenberg reportedly was not able to engage Apple, Facebook and AT&T in the possible purchase of Quibi, which currently touts a reported 500,000 subscribers.
The Information said Katzenberg also struck out in attempts to sell rights to some of Quibi’s shows to Facebook and Comcast.
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