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New Netflix rival Quibi launches with huge Hollywood backing

Mini-episodes are here to pass away your day

New Netflix rival Quibi launches with huge Hollywood backing
06 April 2020

Much-hyped streaming platform Quibi is finally here – but the jury's still out on whether it's a worthy rival to Netflix or Disney Plus.

The app has had reams of media coverage, largely thanks to its fundraising efforts – $1.75 billion has been raised so far – and to the celebrities who have subsequently signed up to make content on the platform: Lena Waithe, Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro are all involved.

At its helm are Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman – so there are a lot of big names in the picture.

Quibi will cost $4.99 per month with ads and $7.99 per month for an ad-free service, with a UK launch date not yet confirmed.

Fifty shows are already on the app – its biggest name draws are Most Dangerous Game, a thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, Chrissy Teigen's small claims court show Chrissy's Court, and a "plane crash drama" starring Sophie Turner.

The unique twist on each of the shows is that each episode is less than ten minutes long and is designed to be watched on mobile. Originally, these were meant to be watched while you were out and about – ten minutes on public transport, or in a queue, or before you start work.

With people in quarantine all over the world, however, those kinds of situations are now few and far between – most of us are going for one, preferably screen-free, walk a day, and are certainly not waiting in queues or sitting on public transport. So how well the short format will work in a classic binge-watching session is not yet clear.

CTO Rob Post told TechCrunch the app was still relevant: "I'm looking to take small breaks more than ever to stand up, walk around, go outside," he said. "Our use cases are these in-between moments. Now, more than ever, that is still present."

Whether Quibi will provide short and sweet respite from isolation boredom, or will fail to set the world on fire is yet to be seen – only time will tell.