Quibi offers digital entertainment for mobile phones

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — do you Want to see Chance the Rapper play pranks on the Hollywood stars? Do you see a new thriller action starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz? What such an edition of six minutes of “60 Minutes”? There’s an app for that and more.

Quibi — that amalgam of the words “quick” (quick) and “bite” (bite) — is a unique platform for cell phones that includes small deliveries of movies and television programs. Every day presents news, sports and weather, under the name of Daily Essentials, which add to the impressive amount of 175 programs planned for this year.

The platform made its debut Monday in the united States and Canada with a free trial period of 90 days and 50 programs, all in segments of a maximum of 10 minutes. Among the productions include “Punk’d,” with Chance the Rapper as a host and executive producer; the film Hemsworth and Waltz’s “Most Dangerous Game”, and “Chrissy”s Court”, in which Chrissy Teigen takes on a role in the style of judge Judy.

Others who will produce and/or appear on Quibi are Reese Witherspoon, Joe Jonas, Jennifer Lopez, Lena Waithe and Sophie Turner.

But the biggest names associated with this project are its executives: the heavyweight of the industry, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and former director general of Hewlett-Packard Meg Whitman. In the 1980s, Katzenberg revived the study of the Walt Disney Co. and its animation division with hits like “The Little Mermaid” (“The little Mermaid”), and in 1994 he co-founded the DreamWorks SGK with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Quibi is the project inventive Katzenberg and he chose Whitman, who also was an executive of Disney, as director-general of the platform.

To Katzenberg, the product is what you make of Quibi a winner.

“In all my years there has been a rule that has never failed, never,” he said. “When I had in my hands a great content, whether it be an animation or a movie… tv programs, a Broadway show, a novel or anything, if it is really good it has never failed”.

There are people who seriously believe in the product. Quibi raised in 2018 of 1,000 million us dollars in funding from investors that include Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom, and announced another 750 million in a second round of fundraising, which ended this month.

After the free trial period (the company’s response to the crisis by a coronavirus), Quibi will cost $ 4.99 per month with ads and 7,99 for its free version of commercial.

As the company rushed its production last summer in view of a possible writers strike, said Katzenberg, was ahead of unemployment in the film and TV production caused by the pandemic. Quibi have material to launch until October or November under the current circumstances.

The platform enters a market full of streaming services new and established that are also competing for the dollars of consumers, including the next debutante HBO Max. And, of course, also is YouTube, full of videos free of cost and with the domain of the same audience of young-adults looking for Quibi.

The business model of Quibi “confronts some obstacles because its focus on short videos, with the Goliath YouTube to the front,” said analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities. “Bet against Katzenberg he has not worked to the skeptics along the career of it,” he added, but Wedbush believes that the battle for the new platform to triumph is uphill.

Katzenberg rejects the idea that Quibi, with his talent, first-class and high-quality of their films, can be harmed by YouTube.

“Nómbrenme a single product that is widely distributed and consumed that when someone offered a better version, a version more suitable, or a premium version, or deluxe, there was a group of people who said ‘yes’,” he said.

It was the rise of YouTube and the consumption of videos on the phones which led to Katzenberg interested in the creative opportunities and business that they represented. He was also inspired by the contemporary novels with short chapters so that, as has been explained to popular authors, the readers with a few minutes still available to enjoy a complete experience.

“We’re doing movies such as Dan Brown did it, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (‘The Da Vinci code’),” said Katzenberg.

The attractiveness of Quibi is your technology Turnstyle, developed under the direction of Whitman, which allows users to switch between the formats in the portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) and always have a full screen image without an annoying black bar. The advantage of Turnstyle for the creators is how you can improve the narration. For example, the viewers can have the option of changing the scene of a movie to see it from the perspective of a character when you change from horizontal to vertical.

“I am sure that we will give to people something they had never seen,” said Katzenberg. “They will decide if it will appreciate enough to pay for this.”

Lynn Elber is on Twitter as http://twitter.com/lynnelber.