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Katzenberg Says He Wanted to Ensure Quibi Launch Didn’t ‘Take Advantage of People’s Disadvantage’

Stephanie Sengwe

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.”

Though Quibi’s launch went off without a hitch, the streaming service was receiving mixed reviews from viewers mere hours after it became active. According to Variety, the fact that content is restricted to mobile-only viewing — a factor Quibi has been touting as one of their biggest differentiators — wasn’t so popular with fans. The app was originally conceived to fill those in-between moments, standing in line, etc. But given the health crisis facing the world and streamers in high demand because of social distancing, Quibi’s debut was watched with more scrutiny.

The streaming service is offering a 90-Day Free Trial of Quibi to all subscribers. After that, there are two plans, $5 (with ads) and $8 (without). If you are a T-Mobile subscriber, there is a good chance that you’ll get a year free of service.