In the run-up to its arrival on April 6, there was a lot of speculation over whether Quibi — the new, short-form streaming service founded by former Dreamworks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg — would succeed. Do people really want to binge short content? Do they really want to watch things on their phone? Is it perhaps terrible timing to have a quick bite service when much of America suddenly has gobs of time to kill while quarantining? Well, according to its CEO, Quibi defied the skeptics and had a great first week.
According to Deadline, Quibi head Meg Whitman claimed the service had seen 1.7 million downloads since dropping last week, which “exceeded company expectations.” She also noted 80% of viewers actually finished at least the first episode of any show they started. Earlier, preliminary data showed that 300,000 users had downloaded the app on its first day, and by day two, the total of users had grown to 530,000. (To put things in perspective, 4 million people installed Disney+ on its first day, though Disney was already, to put it lightly, an established brand.)
Right now, Quibi isn’t making money off its subscribers; rather than delay release till after the pandemic slows down, they offered a 90-day free trial. (After that, subscribers can either pay $4.99 a month with ads or $7.99 without.) It’s also worth noting that, as with Netflix, who claims huge viewership on certain titles without supplying any data, Whitman’s claim of 1.7 million downloads is just that. We also have no other figures to compare that to, especially since there’s never been a streamer whose content was as short as Quibi’s. Whatever the case, it appears that the streamer was not, as some expected, dead on arrival.