Quibi has now officially launched with users able to download the app and stream the content on offer. However, the launch comes at the very worst time for the streaming service.
While there is no shortage of streaming services to choose from, Quibi does stand apart from the rest as it is one that’s entirely focused on short-form content. Whether movie or episodic in nature, content is delivered in snack-sized ten-minute (or less) segments
These shorter-duration segments make Quibi a service that’s tailor-made for mobile devices and on-the-go use. No matter where you are, or how long you have to spare, a quick bite-sized video is there waiting for you. In fact, the service is currently not just mobile-first, but mobile-only considering it is not available to download on any device other than mobile devices.
The problem Quibi faces is that it has arrived right in the middle of a global pandemic that has forced most people to stay at home. This almost entirely negates the purpose of the streaming service.
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While there’s nothing stopping anyone from streaming Quibi at home on their mobile phone, and especially considering streaming video is more popular than ever right now due to the coronavirus stay at home order, the format and design are not meant for this use case.
Given the choice, it remains to be seen why anyone would want to huddle around their smartphone and keep hitting ‘next episode’ every ten minutes when they can just binge a whole series in comfort on their big screen. Which makes Quibi’s arrival one that couldn’t really have happened at a worst time.
Right now it remains unclear how long the stay at home order will remain in effect and until the order is lifted, subscribers to the service are unlikely to really benefit from the streaming service in the way it was designed.
On a positive note, it does look like Quibi is aware of this limitation considering the service is currently offering subscribers a 90-day free trial. That’s considerably longer than the free trials offered by other streaming services and in theory might be long enough to extend past the stay at home order. If that is the case then the extended free access will allow subscribers to retain the service up until a time when the real benefits of on-the-move, snack-sized streaming can be realized.