Quibi reverses its mobile only strategy, launches Apple TV app

Quibi is moving beyond its original mobile online ambitions.
Photo: Quibi

Plenty of people would say that 2020 hasn’t turned out quite how they hoped it would. The makers of bite-sized video subscription service Quibi would almost certainly be among them.

Quibi, which makes short episodic shows that are perfect for watching on your iPhone while commuting, launched in April at a time when no-one was commuting. Now, six months down the line, Quibi has revised its mobile only ambitions and has launched an official tvOS app for Apple TV users.

Quibi has also created apps for Android TV and Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. (No way to watch it on Roku just yet, though!) For those who haven’t yet given Quibi a chance, it costs $5 per month with a 14-day-free trial.

Quibi’s journey to Apple TV

Quibi, which was co-founded by Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, attracted plenty of A-list talent. These included the likes of Kevin Hart, Chrissy Teigen and Zac Efron. In its first year, it spent more than $1 billion on some 175 shows, with episodes lasting 10 minutes or under.

Unfortunately, from the very start it was hit with reports that it wasn’t reaching enough users. In a July interview with the New York Times, Katzenberg said that, “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus.” He also said that app downloads had not been “close to what we wanted.” The service reportedly has around half a million subscribers.

In October, there was a report that Quibi’s creators are currently trying to sell the service. According to The Information, Apple was among the potential acquirers contacted. However, Apple execs decided to reject the offer.

It’s hard not to feel for Quibi. The service has some fun shows, but it launched at a time when more streaming services than ever were launching. Add to that the disastrous timing of launching a mobile first service at a time when everyone’s staying home and… well, it’s a tough situation to be in.