We Don't Talk About Quibi

We Don't Talk About Quibi

May 31, 2022

Remember Quibi? Of course you don't. It's a cautionary tale from just two years ago that we really don't even talk about anymore. But we should. Quibi's failings were a product of its own design, for sure, but also of completely missing the mark on user trends. The pandemic only accelerated its failure. Streaming services would do take Quibi's lesson and listen to consumer trends.

Learning Two Hard Lessons from Quibi

It's safe to say that Quibi is no longer part of the national conversation. Its launch and subsequent failure were nearly two years ago in 2020. That's ages in today's fast-paced cord-cutting market. But that doesn't mean the lessons learned from Quibi should be any less relevant today. Streaming services are facing a bit of a crossroads as prices and competition are simultaneously increasing and tough decisions need to be made on how to effectively engage, attract and retain customers.

Missing the mark on how and what people watch

Among Quibi's biggest problems was completely getting wrong how people consume content in the first place. Quibi focused on short content bites. This hedged on the idea that short is better because modern consumers supposedly have shorter attention spans and less time to engage with the content. That was not really the case. In fact, anyone with a background in SEO could have told you that longer content does better, so long as it's engaging.

Now, there are some variables there, of course. It's all about context. But when it comes to stories, short form doesn't hold the same weight as fully-fleshed out videos. Apparently, people's attention spans aren't as short as Quibi's leaders believed.

We're now seeing some hints that major providers might be missing the mark on how and what people watch. Netflix is struggling to win people over with its content, having no major winners with long-term staying power. Paramount+ has reinvigorated the much-beloved Star Trek brand, but its first two series attempts fell flat with fans. It's only just now getting its feet under itself by returning to the episodic model that fans want with its Strange New Worlds series.

There are more examples, of course. But this is an important one. Failing to understand your own market is a recipe for disaster, as Quibi learned the hard way.

Failing to respond to change

This was huge and instrumental in Quibi's failure. The company designed Quibi for a certain lifestyle --- commuting. When that lifestyle changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quibi should have changed. Instead, the company launched itself with few changes, and only near the end did it try to reinvent itself. But it was too little, too late.

The same can be true of streaming services right now. Staying the course is a terrible business plan. That's certainly why CNN+ crashed before launch. Its leaders didn't read the room and respond to change properly. The same may now be true of many live TV providers, who are struggling more than they did in the past, especially in the face of price hikes.

The content quality needs to match the price, for starters. Quibi's quality was bad and so was its price. Apple TV+ is an example of a company that recognized that it couldn't ask for more than what it was providing. Instead, it was practically giving away Apple TV+ subscriptions for over a year as it built its (very well received) content library.

There are several service providers on the market right now that need to change. Will they? That remains to be seen.


This Week's Streaming Guide

The next MCU hero Ms. Marvel lands on Disney+

The newest MCU superhero show comes to Disney+ this Wednesday (June 8).

Adam Sandler and LeBron James' movie Hustle premieres on Netflix

"After a down-on-his-luck basketball scout discovers an extraordinary player abroad, he brings the phenom back without his team's approval." Stream on Netflix this Wednesday.

Hit British drama Peaky Blinders returns for season 6

Already available in the UK, US fans can now enjoy the full season on Netflix starting Friday (June 10).

Psychological thriller Dark Winds, starring Rainn Wilson, premieres on AMC

This groundbreaking series stars Native American actors and is set within the Navajo Nation. Streaming this Sunday (June 12) - Watch AMC Without Cable

News and Industry Developments

Netflix taking a page from the rest of Hollywood

Big change: Not trying to compete with Disney on family-oriented movies. - TheVerge

Release date for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Disney+ announced

Get ready MCU fans. The content is coming to Disney+ on June 22. - The Direct

Can Paramount+ survive the streaming wars?

Despite early success, some experts believe it's an acquisition target. - The Hustle

Sling TV first streamer to bundle with MyBundle.TV

The third-party bundling service landed its first non-cable provider with Sling TV. - FierceVideo

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