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What’s a Quibi, and why should you care?

It’s no secret that attention spans are getting shorter with each new generation, and we all are more distracted right now with the COVID-19 crisis. Technology and the current situation are teaching us to consume information in smaller and smaller pieces as our brains fight to keep up with today’s multitasking, media-saturated environment. 

Seeking to capitalize on that phenomenon is a new streaming service called Quibi, the first short-form, mobile-only platform for video content. Launching today, Quibi – pronounced “Quibby” and shorthand for “quick bites” – features original content with each episode lasting 10 minutes or less. 

With streaming pioneers like Netflix and Hulu having been joined by the likes of Apple TV and Disney+ – and with HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock looming on the horizon – brand marketers will be watching Quibi closely to see if this innovative new platform for video consumption connects with consumers.  

Founded by former Walt Disney Studios head and DreamWorks co-creator Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi is spending over a billion dollars to produce original content alongside such heavyweights as Stephen Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, Chrissy Teigen, Demi Lovato and Zac Efron. Top brands are already jumping on the bandwagon. 

Katzenberg says he sees Quibi as more evolutionary than revolutionary, offering a platform for telling stories that may last over two hours but in bite-size chapters for more easily digestible viewing. Genres range from reality shows and documentaries to news and entertainment, including programming that takes advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile phones such as fitness shows that track your activity or horror movies that only air at night. 

Programming is targeted to adults 18-44 with a special focus on millennials 25-35. Quibi says it’s determined to start by getting content right for the platform, so we shouldn’t expect them to diversify by offering kids programming, for instance, any time soon. But established networks such as MTV, BBC and NBC News are already lined up to produce short-form shows for the streaming network. 

The platform offers both ad-supported and ad-free subscriptions, piquing the interest of marketers looking for ways to connect in the increasingly crowded digital streaming space. Ad formats range from six seconds to 15 seconds and offer a new video “turnstile” unit that fills full screen in both vertical and horizontal screen orientation. Ad placements are limited to one or two per program to keep the viewer experience enjoyable. 

Several leading brands including Discover, T-Mobile, Pepsi and General Mills have signed on, with Quibi reporting that first-year ad inventory is already sold out. But if subscriber numbers climb, more inventory could open up later this year. It will be interesting to see if the platform is able to maintain subscribers past the free 90-day trial given record numbers of unemployment especially in their target audience.  

Brands seeking to reach adults and millennials should definitely evaluate Quibi as part of their digital video mix moving forward. Not only does this platform reach a hard-to-find audience in a highly efficient and scalable manner, but it approaches content consumption in a novel and insight-driven fashion much like TikTok and YouTube. 

Those who want to test the waters with Quibi should plan and secure inventory for 2021 during the 2020 upfront, which is set to take place virtually in May. Smaller brands without the buying power of a Pepsi or a T-Mobile would be smart to wait on the sidelines to see if additional inventory becomes available – or if copycat platforms materialize and drive down costs. 


Lisa Purpura joined LGA after stints at such renowned agencies as VMLY&R, TBWA\Chiat\Day, DDB and Havas. She is an expert in developing creative media solutions and frequent contributor to leading industry conferences and publications. 

Would your business benefit from more effective engagement with young adults? From Quibi and TikTok to Instagram and YouTube, we can help you determine where – and how – to reach the coveted Millennial consumer audience.  

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