- Quibi has now officially launched worldwide. I had no problems downloading it and tuning in here in the UAE, and had confirmation it’s working in Kuwait too.
- It is free for 90-days, if you sign up before April 30th.
- After that trial, plans start at AED 29.99/month.
Quibi’s unique proposition and app have positives:
- The big thing is that Quibi’s content is mobile-first. You can only watch on an iOS or Android device.
- There’s also responsive video, which adapts to your viewing angle in portrait or landscape mode, which Quibi calls its ‘Turnstyle’ technology.
- In use, the responsive video technology adjusts without that hiccup you can see shifting orientation. It does add a slightly different perspective and titles and credits adjust as well.
- Apparently Turnstyle will allow for more narrative elements as you switch positions but launch shows didn’t show that off. So it worked, but I didn’t need it.
- Otherwise, elements like the clock on your phone and GPS location will change how some shows look or evolve. Again, none of that is here on day one.
- Other neat tricks are the progress bar or a show running vertically down the right side of the screen as you watch in portrait mode (or left, for left-handers who choose that option).
- It does offer offline downloads too for watching while on mobile data or patchy connections.
On the negative side:
- There’s no profile setup yet, as Quibi is trying to be personal to each person.
- That means if you share your login details, you might be frustrated as there’s only one single concurrent stream allowed.
But is the content any good?
- That depends. That really depends. Less than 10-minute episodes make everything so abrupt and rapid. It’s both compelling and difficult to really enjoy.
- On the good side, Dishmantled isn’t bad if you want to watch crowd-sourced chefs try to recreate a meal shot at them from a cannon to win $5k. Yup. Episodes last about six minutes, hosted by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star Tituss Burgess.
- It’s fun, light-weight, and that’s it. But I can imagine people watching this.
- Other shows like Shape of Pasta take themselves very seriously but the episodes are almost too short to really create feeling. Apparently chef Evan Funke is famous, and that’s a big part of why I don’t get this at all. It’s too much.
- Survive with Sophie Turner starts slow but kept me watching.
- There’s I Promise, a LeBron James-focused documentary about his school in Akron which is like a LeBron commercial, but at least it is fundamentally good.
- Punk’d is back with Chance the Rapper and maybe it shouldn’t be?
Star power not always firing:
- Look, right now it seems like the whole thing is based heavily on celebrity and star power, and it’s trying to appeal to a younger audience by being so snappy and loaded with pop culture.
- You’ll either get in because of this or find your unable to imagine why anyone would use it.
- It sort of feels like what you might get if YouTube paid what Quibi invested ($1 billion!) in content, and stars, and every possible idea being greenlighted.
- It both works and it doesn’t, and I find myself deciding within about 15 seconds if I want to watch something or not because of how lost cost it is to jump around.
- Quibi feels like it was made for commuters catching a show. As Moe Szyslak might say: ‘We called that “The Commute.” They don’t let you do that no more.’
Download it and share your thoughts!