- Quibi, the mobile video streaming service started by media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, was downloaded 300,000 times on its first day of release in the U.S. and Canada, app analytics firm Sensor Tower estimated.
- The total was a fraction of the 4 million downloads that Disney+ racked up on its release day in November, but was ahead of the 45,000 downloads for HBO Now in 2015 before the season 5 premiere of "Game of Thrones." Quibi is offering a 90-day free trial, after which it charges $5 a month with ads or $8 a month for the ad-free version.
- Quibi was ranked No. 3 in the Apple App Store's list of most downloaded apps, but only No. 29 for Google Play. Apple highlighted Quibi in several sections of the App Store, including its "Apps We Love Right Now" that is selected by an editorial team, TechCrunch reported.
Quibi's main selling point to consumers is that it provides snackable videos that they can watch on their mobile devices. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept people stuck at home, where they can binge-watch longer shows on services like Netflix. Media consumption habits have changed among the millions of people who work from home or commute less frequently while they practice social distancing. Video streaming and TV viewing surged during the last two weeks of March as quarantines took effect in the U.S., per Nielsen data cited by the Hollywood Reporter; however, podcast consumption slumped as consumers streamed less audio programming than they did while commuting to work, data compiled by Podtrac indicate.
While current media consumption trends may work against Quibi in the short term, it's too early to tell what the estimates of Quibi downloads mean for the mobile video startup longer term, and whether its No. 3 spot on App Store ranking will last. The company's high-profile promotional efforts included commercials during the Super Bowl and Academy Awards, but Quibi doesn't have the same name recognition and cross-platform promotional power that Disney had in launching its streaming service last year. That difference makes direct comparisons between Quibi and Disney+ more difficult. Also, Disney+ is mostly intended for viewing on connected TVs, making it more akin to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, which is majority-owned by Disney.
A clearer picture of Quibi's usage will emerge in the next few months as the company provides more metrics and third-party researchers survey viewing habits of mobile users. T-Mobile is offering free access to Quibi for a year on select wireless plans, which should help distribution. Quibi also has deep pockets to spend on programming and promotions, having raised $750 million last month in a second round in financing. Quibi's advertisers during its first year include AB InBev, Google, Discovery, General Mills, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Progressive, Taco Bell, T-Mobile and Walmart. Quibi aims to provide a brand-safe alternative to YouTube, TikTok and other social networks whose dependence on user-generated content makes them vulnerable to abuse.
The idea for the business could prove sound once the coronavirus pandemic starts to wane, given that younger consumers like Generation Z watch more video throughout the day while they're doing other activities. Roughly four out of five (81%) surveyed Gen Zers said putting on a mobile video while doing other things keeps them entertained, according to a study by entertainment company Whistle. American adults spend about 40% of their daily digital video viewing time on mobile devices, reaching about 40 minutes a day, researcher eMarketer estimated last year.