Quibi is making some strategic moves amid a sluggish start.
According to Bloomberg, the mobile-first streaming video startup is revamping its programming slate, choosing not to renew shows including the Idris Elba-produced Elba Vs. Block for a second season.
The Bloomberg report, which said Quibi has been surprised to see itself appealing specifically to an older female audience, jibes with another article in the Wall Street Journal from earlier in the week, which said that Quibi executives now believe that their service has relied too much on scripted shows.
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Separately, Quibi continues to develop ways to get onto the living room TV. The service now supports Apple AirPlay, meaning users with AirPlay-enabled smart TVs and connected TV devices can stream Quibi content from their smart phones.
The WSJ report, which led with the news that the startup's advertisers want to revise their deal terms, noted that the Quibi app for iOS and Android has been downloaded 4.2 million times since it was introduced April 6. Citing unnamed company sources, meanwhile, the report also said that 1.5 million Quibi users signed up for the service under the three-months-free promotion that was available in April.
These same sources indicated that signing up 7 million users in its first year would represent a successful start for Quibi—an objective that’s still very achievable, despite the sluggish launch.
Quibi’s movie mogul founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, has notably blamed his platform’s struggle’s on the pandemic—the service, backed by $1.75 billion in venture capital and built around shows chopped into short episodes of 10 minutes or less, was not designed to play in an environment in which users are quarantined and have access to their TV sets, its backers say.
But privately, according to the Bloomberg and WSJ reports, Quibi executives have conceded their programming isn’t hitting the mark. And they’re assessing what’s working and what is not working, and accentuating the former.
According to Bloomberg, two of the platform’s most popular series are The Rachel Hollis Show, a daily nonfiction program hosted by the titular author and motivational speaker, and Chrissy’s Court, which features celebrity Chrissy Teigen acting as a judge over petty disputes. NBC News programming has resonated, too, the report said.
The latter programs fall under Quibi’s “Daily Essentials” bucket, a collection of unscripted daily news and lifestyle programming. Quibi ordered this programming in a first wave covering 26 weeks. And it has told producers of these shows that it will decide on whether to pick up a second six months’ worth of their Daily Essentials show by mid-June.
But according to Bloomberg, Quibi is already telling some producers of its scripted shows that their series won’t be renewed.
That’s not to say that Quibi isn’t proud of the work.
Notably, Quibi just submitted 19 shows for Emmy consideration this year, including Elba Vs. Block.
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