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Jeffrey Katzenberg Says Quibi’s Quality Shows Will Ensure an Audience

Fern Siegel

Mobile streamer Quibi has raised more than $1.75 billion in funding and has two prestige names at the helm: Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, a former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, who cofounded DreamWorks SKG, and high-profile CEO Meg Whitman.

The start-up also boasts A-listers providing content, such as Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi, Ben Stiller and Steven Soderbergh.

For Katzenberg, that’s the secret to Quibi’s future success. It’s slated 175 original short-form series its first year, totaling more than 8,500 original episodes. 

“One thing that’s happened to me in 45 years of being in Hollywood and in this industry is, I’ve never seen an instance where real quality entertainment hasn’t found an audience,” Katzenberg told Next TV. “Whether we find it on the first day or 10th day or 200th day, if you make it and it’s good, they will come.” 

And to sweeten the deal, Quibi will give users three free months.

Katzenberg told Next TV Quibi had two important plusses. First, it’s new kind of storytelling: seven-to-10 minute episodes he hopes will appeal to older viewers, as well as targeted millennials. Second, it’s a boon for creators.

“We went back to the way television used to work in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s,” when producers kept syndication rights, he told Next TV. Creators get rights to full shows in two years and the episodic versions in seven. “People have made really great programming for us. When [viewers] see it, we’ll be on our way.”

Quibi, which launches April 6, has two versions: Ad-free for $7.99 and $4.99 for those who accept pre-roll ads. The pre-roll ads will be of varied length: six, 10 or 15 seconds before each episode. Ten top companies are already signed up for exclusive spots: Progressive, Discover, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, AB InBev, Taco Bell, Pepsi, T-Mobile, Google and Walmart.