Quibi backtracks, gives up on “mobile only” format less than a week in

Less than a week after their highly anticipated launch, Quibi is going back on a major part of their plan – and coronavirus may be partly to blame.

The name Quibi is literally short for “quick bites” and since inception, the service has been planned for mobile-only content. It seemed like an odd decision for sure to push out a large part of the market, but if that’s their chosen niche, it’s their decision.

Just a few days in though, the company is realizing that may have been a misstep. The content is designed to be watched in 10-minute chapters on the go, but the problem is, nobody is on the go at the moment thanks to coronavirus quarantines. Shortly after the service debuted, customers took to social media in droves complaining about the mobile-exclusive approach.

To appease the unhappy customers and to make sure they’re maximizing their audience, the cimpany has decided to adapt their content for televisions as well as mobile.

But a word of warning if you’re expecting to add the Quibi app to your smart TV anytime soon – it’ll likely take a while. CEO Meg Whitman recently said to Bloomberg TV that adding television support was “quite an engineering lift. It’s not easy,” she added, “but the engineers are trying to think about how to do this on an accelerated time scale.” When pressed for an estimation, Whitman said it could take up to six months.

On the heels of a massive $1.75 billion advertising campaign, Quibi had a tremendous launch, seeing 300,000 downloads the first day and 1.7 million downloads the first week.

The service has a surprising lineup of talent signed on for shows and a fairly long free trial period at 90 days. The ultimate question is, of course, will people pay? We’ll see in about three months.

Artie Beaty