Quibi, the well-funded streaming startup launched in April and led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, has posted select episodes for free viewing on YouTube.
The move is the latest by the mobile-focused service to adapt to the market conditions at launch, which are not what anyone expected. The company has offered a 90-day free trial and also has ramped up efforts to create a way for some users to stream programming via their connected TV for a more lean-back experience suited to the COVID-19 moment. Quibi had initially been purely focused on mobile, with its short-form episodes (aka “quick bites”) appealing to young, on-the-go viewers. During the pandemic shutdowns, few people have been “on the go” anywhere.
With Friday being the final day customers can sign up for the free 90-day trial, Quibi posted the episodes of Most Dangerous Game, The Stranger and Dummy as a way of enticing new users.
For anyone accessing the episodes via a connected-TV device, the company’s signature Turnstyle technology — which enables seamless viewing either vertically or horizontally — won’t come into play.
Quibi, which launched April 6, is one of several major new challengers to Netflix. Its service is $5 a month for an ad-supported version and $8 without ads. In the early going, Quibi’s app has been downloaded 2.6 million times. Katzenberg has stressed in interviews since the launch that the service should be judged as a long-term play and not on the number of initial downloads.
A Quibi rep did not immediately return a request for comment on the YouTube move.
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