Short-form streaming service Quibi launches in Australia

Available for $6.99 a month, or free with ads

The short-form, mobile-only streaming service Quibi has launched in Australia after a long promotional campaign.

The service, named from the mash-up of words “quick” and “bites” and pronounced “kwĭb-ee”, hosts content averaging seven to ten-minutes in length. It was launched in the US back in April by former Disney Studio chief and DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who founded the company in 2018.

The content is designed to be “movie quality” in short-form and spans many genres. Feature-length scripted films will be released in daily ‘chapters’, reality shows will be self-contained Quibi-sized episodes, and news channels will produce updates to size.

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More ambitious features of the service include the ability to choose camera angles, occasionally interactive options and ‘turnstile mode’ – allowing users to switch between horizontal and vertical formats, with the content filmed both ways.

In Australia and New Zealand, Quibi is available for free with ads or for $6.99 a month at launch on major mobile app stores.

The launch’s marquee show is Most Dangerous Game, starring Christoph Waltz as a stalker who hunts humans, including one played by Liam Hemsworth.

The service has struggled with downloads overseas since its April launch. Last month, it was revealed under 10 per cent of its first chunk of subscribers became paid subscribers after a three month-free trial. Katzenberg blamed the poor start on the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with The New York Times.

“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything,” he said.

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“Is it the avalanche of people that we wanted and were going for out of launch? The answer is no. It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted.”

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