Quibi officially launches in a little over two months, meaning that the funky, mobile-first streaming service is ramping up the hype by teasing out a handful of trailers for its short-form video series, a couple of which I’ll, somewhat begrudgingly, admit look pretty good!
Quibi’s primary gimmick, beyond serving users bitty 10-minute episodes for its lengthy list of celebrity-packed shows arriving on the service at launch, is its “turnstyle” video presentation—videos that move seamlessly between portrait and landscape but offer uniquely different viewing experiences rather than just zooming into or cropping a scene. This method of offering viewers multiple vantage points offers a lot of opportunities for directors to experiment with the feature, and of course accessibility to the user, who in theory can watch anywhere and while on the go.
By far, the most interesting series sneak peek so far is for Flipped starring Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson, who find a wall full of money during demolition and decide to treat themselves to the home renovation of their dreams. Of course, this doesn’t shake out quite as planned when the bad guys who stashed it there come to collect. In order to pay it back, they’re enlisted in home renovations for a kingpin. It looks quite good! And it’s possible, if turnstyle is used here, that Flipped’s comedy will benefit from a portrait-style delivery.
Quibi also dropped a trailer for its remake of The Fugitive starring Kiefer Sutherland and Boyd Holbrook. It’s not difficult, based on previously released Quibi clips, to imagine how this kind of catch-me-if-you-can thriller would benefit from two unique viewpoints while its cast is in pursuit of their escaped convict.
Similarly, the turnstyle format seems suited to Quibi’s series Elba Vs. Block, wherein Idris Elba and Ken Block will “go head to head to see who’s the best behind the driver’s seat.” Because this series appears to be focused on stunts, both up-close and wide-angle shots are optimal for viewing.
The service previously released a trailer for a remake of Punk’d from MTV with Chance the Rapper, and dropped a bizarre bank heist ad spot promoting the service ahead of the Super Bowl as well.
The big question mark—beyond Quibi’s gimmick-y video viewing and bitty series episodes—is whether people will be willing to pay for it. Quibi’s ad-supported version will run users $US5 ($7) a month, while the ad-free version will cost $US8 ($12). Given that there’s no free tier, and that the service is launching just as other major streaming services like Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, and Plex roll out their new products, Quibi’s price tag is pretty steep for a product no one’s tried yet.
2020 is set to be a big year for new streaming service, Quibi, whether you've heard of it or not. With hyped up shows and a lineup of talented creators producing content for Quibi, it looks set to have an epic launch - but what is Quibi, and should you subscribe?