Quibi Obituary


I would have liked to see what amateurs could have done with this format, the sort of YouTubers who put YouTube on the map before it got corporatized. Quibi is coming from the opposite direction. Introducing amateurs would have left it so much to gain. Its an exemplary reason why it failed because it failed to tap into every day users.

With the Emmy Winning “The Most Dangerous Game they went for a modern TV cinematic format cut up like scenes in a movie. They showed there’s room for the short form TV series to grow online with the Emmy’s.

I hope they are keeping track of when people flip aspect ratios. The funnest part of Quibi is viewer manipulation. For a character as big as Christoph Waltz I always went wide screen but occasionally got bored during other scenes and went vertical. I wonder where the patent will go after it shuts down in December as I hope it sticks around on other viewing platforms.

Imagine being able to zoom in on a weird actors tick response during a show watching a close up of their face, hands or an extra in the background. There are technical upgrades the app could go through that would have really helped it grow and have major influence. If only Quibi had not quibbled with copyright and saw the user community grow it. It was the biggest hampering to the platform’s success. That and not having a free ad-tier. The way TikTok in its place has become, during quarantine, essentially self-sustaining highlights creator Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Altman’s mistake in thinking about IP in a way too old fashioned 90’s anti-social media way. Hopefully the two have learned their lesson.

Out of the platform narrative possibilities it opened up greater interactive narrative possibilities like a possible Minecraft: Story Mode port (Now on Netflix) it never capitalized on. The platform had trouble getting 3rd party stuff on other platforms (like would it kill them to somehow get a YouTube show, Facebook or Snapchat show on here? The platform holders should not be the sole publishers.

The VR potential of Quibi was also strong but neglected completely. I felt Katzenberg had the idea of this platform but never got anyone truly excited other than maybe the CEO that completely believed in it. There was something admirable in its refusal to be like other emerging streaming services which are now the norm. But Quibi also came with it a somehow cocky superiority attitude it never quite shook off. I also wished I could watch it on a regular tv. I enjoyed linking my phone to a bluetooth speaker and walking in the room with my mom showing it, but Quibi greatly and crucially underestimated that people still watch TV, well on their TVs. And binge too. I have too much anxiety to watch a quick bite on the bus on my way to work and if I do, I am not gonna pay money when I can get free content on YouTube. During my use of it I had the 90 day trial and watched both The Most Dangerous Game and The Stranger, along with that one episode of the mature rated Sophie Turner depression show. It was interesting but not self-sustaining. Quibi under-estimated that all streaming phone apps have an element of viewer participation that this did not have. I’ll quip about Quibi on Twitter but I won’t host a conversation about it. Quibi thought it was isolating itself from criticism but it by not providing at least dedicated comment section was shutting itself out of the conversation completely.

I never completely trusted Quibi. It’s insistence on drawing over other apps, ignoring Blue light filters, showed that it simply wouldn’t allow consumers to have control over the smallest elements in their lives. They posted an illusion and nobody bought it. Still it would have helped had they truly just had one killer app that shut up all the haters. They didn’t. And consumers were smarter than that. Good for them. I wish everyone involved the best. At least the failure of this app rebuffs that even the most rich and powerful can’t fool the simplest of consumers when they are half looking.


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