Netflix for mobile comes by surprise, and this is what we think


I was in the kitchen preparing the coffee to boot at first time. I had a few minutes while I heated up the water and my head is getting ready to write something productive. The natural instinct nowadays is to look at the mobile. What do they say on Twitter? What has happened to something in the stories of Instagram? Or better start with reading the news? Not really, because in the end I opted for an episode of series seven minutes because we already have between us Quibi, a platform of content that has been dubbed as the Netflix for mobile because only producing series and programmes to be viewed with the device in hand.

The arrival of Quibi has been a surprise in Spain. The man behind the project, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who had been director of Walt Disney Studios and founder of Dreamworks, I had never spoken of Spain as one of the markets where desembarcaría. But Quibi this Monday was available in the app stores in the mainland, in addition to the united States and Canada, and you can see these episodes which he calls “bites fast”.

Snacks fast

The episodes last between six and ten minutes and Quibi offers three months free when you subscribe

For the moment, there are no voice overs and the app is only available in English, although the content does include subtitles in Spanish. As the first three months of subscription are free of charge, to fall into the temptation was almost inevitable. When you touch renew in July will be the time to decide if it’s worth it to spend 8,99 euro per month for watching series and reality shows with original the mobile. And what I have found this platform whose episodes are forbidden to take more than 10 minutes?

The first impression is that you note the money (Katzenberg raised more than 1,000 million studios such as Disney, NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia) and that note that is designed for the mobile experience. If you compare it with Apple TV+, which landed in November, you can say that it is full of content and featuring swords first: just take a look you will find Sophie Turner (Game of thrones), Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games), Christoph Waltz (Malditos bastardos), Will Forte (Last man on Earth) or the media model Chrissy Teigen with her husband John Legend, the singer. And not missing the urge to lead with some of these contents.

The menu of Quibi.

The menu of Quibi.
(Quibi / EFE)

For example, Most Dangerous Game it is a series only suitable for the adult audience and that makes reference to the text of Richard Connell adapted on numerous occasions. The argument can be summed up easily: rich hunting human. Dodge (Hemsworth) discovers that he has a brain tumor that will be paid in a few weeks and leave his pregnant wife in the ruin. Is the only way out if you want your woman and your baby will not have to suffer over after his departure? To accept the offer of a ricachón (Waltz) that organizes hunts for humans in the city of Detroit where Dodge would be the bait for 24 hours. “I like being able to help people like you. It makes Me feel good”, you have the face to say to this man.


Survive Sophie Turner is another one that you don’t want to leave you indifferent. Here plays a young man who has a clear destination: to commit suicide. It is what his father did and what he did to his grandmother, so he is convinced that his life is a constant suffering that deserves to be abandoned at any time. But, when you think that it is time to die, a plane crash leaves chuck in the middle of nowhere, and with an instinct that did not expect to have: that of survival. Quibi knows very well that, if you start a series with suicidal thoughts of adolescents, have a minimum of notoriety (and here, as also happened in Thirteen reasons or
Violet and Finch
, we also speak of an adaptation of a novel).


Also you can see Flipped, a comedy that parodies reality of reforms of houses; Murder House Flipped yes it is a reality of reforms of houses, in this case of known properties of their murders; Chrissy”s Court where Chrissy Teigen trying to be sympathetic while judged nonsense of anonymous people; Dishmantledthat is as
Nailed it
Netflix but still more absurd (they shoot food in the face with the eyes closed and have thirty minutes to cook what I believe was); there are realities of personalities such as Nightgowns with Sasha Valour, the winner of RuPaul”s Drag Raceor Nikki Fresh with Nicole Richie; and a mystery series titled When the streetlights go on set in 1995, and which tells of the murder of a teenage girl and her teacher, which were rolled up.

What conclusions? I don’t know if it is lack of practice with the format of episodes from six to ten minutes, but the bites of fiction know little and seem to have serious problems to work alone. As the episodes are short, they all attempt to narrate a particular aspect of the plot and to maintain a uniform tone. This causes the story is perceived too fragmented when you go from one episode to the next.


You just have to see Most Dangerous Game: in the first episode sets the premise, in the second you have a flashback and in the third, finally explains the rules of the manhunt. To be a series intended as a fiction of short episodes for mobile, the experience is summed up in a story that progresses to jerky and that only works because we can see the first three episodes on the same day. This can also be extrapolated to Flipped or Survive: until the end of the third episode not to have the impression of having seen a unit plot is solid, of a little series that you’re watching. And the realities, on the other hand, perhaps they will endure better to the format quick bite to eat but they are also wildly inconsequential.

The most interesting of Quibi, in fact, is the technology Turnstyle that allows you to view the series in two different ways: with the phone in horizontal or in verticalmodalities that can be replaced and that changed the plans completely. In my opinion, you may horizontally have more information in each plane, but if I’m watching the episode with the smartphone, I prefer to better see the faces and details with the device in vertical.

The technology Turnstyle allows you to change the format of the image as if you see the content with the device in vertical or horizontal position.

The technology Turnstyle allows you to change the format of the image as if you see the content with the device in vertical or horizontal position.
(Steve Marcus / Reuters)

Is it worth to pay for this content? Only time will tell if there is a market for reality shows harmless series and fragmented, if really the audience wants episodes ultrabreves with stars recognizable to to travel on the bus, to waiting rooms, to view on the mobile device before you go to bed or while they are in the cup of the toilet. Or do you prefer to continue watching the series from Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Movistar, or Apple TV at those times even if this means breaking up viewings according to your needs?

The best thing is that you can toggle the viewing in horizontal or vertical (I prefer the vertical because they look better the details in a mobile phone) but the stories are quite harmless or fragmented