Despite launching at a precarious time in history, it seems Quibi is off to a good start. CEO Meg Whitman told CNBC that the streaming service garnered 1.7 million downloads in its first week. She also revealed that the service that “80% of people who have started a show watch it through the first episode.”
The launch of Quibi coincided with the coronavirus pandemic and because many people had to leave their jobs, founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman had to consider whether or not they still wanted the app to launch on April 6. Although they canceled their April 5 red carpet event commemorating the launch, they ultimately decided to keep the April 6 launch date.
According to Deadline, Katzenberg admitted to Recode Media that they ultimately decided to go ahead with the launch after finding a solution that wouldn’t be exploiting people in such dire circumstances. “Being able to come to market at a time when the entire world is in a defensive posture, to be able to come with something we’re proud of and delivers on its promise, might turn out to be an advantage. But over and again we wanted to be certain we weren’t taking advantage of people’s disadvantage. That was the turning point for us … to do this with the substantive change of giving it free for three months.”
Quibi launched on April 6 with a 90-day free trial. After that, users will pay $4.99/month with ads and $7.99/month ad-free. The start-up includes content from A-listers, such as Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lopez, Sam Raimi, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Soderbergh, which founder Jeffrey Katzenberg believes will aid its future success.