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Media Mogul Barry Diller Calls Quibi a ‘Gutsy Speculation’

Fern Siegel

Barry Diller, the chairman and senior executive of IAC and the chairman and senior executive of Expedia Group, has weighed in on Quibi, the mobile streamer launching on April 6.

Speaking on NBC News’ Byers Market Podcast, hosted by Dylan Byers, which interviews influential executives, Diller calls Quibi a “giant and gutsy speculation.” He added most people “aren’t overwhelmed by the idea, which makes it all the gutsier.”

Quibi is distinguished from other streamers by three primary features. It is a strictly mobile platform, focuses on short-form content, 10 minutes or less, and targets millennials.

Diller, whose career includes being the CEO of Paramount, Fox and USA Networks, isn’t a stranger to risk. He told Byers he admires Jeffrey Katzenberg’s hustle. (Katzenberg founded Quibi; Meg Whitman is its CEO. They have raised $1.75 billion in funding to date.)

He adds Katzenberg’s hope is that “somewhere in Quibi’s library is a giant hit.”

Katzenberg began his media career as an assistant to Diller at Paramount, eventually rising to chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. He later cofounded DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.

Quibi has been adding shows at a lightning pace. Its goal is to launch with 5,000 quick-bite videos. Its most recent additions include “Hot Off the Mic,” “Q Talks,” “Ice Cream Man” and the docu-series “Prodigy.” NBC News will produce daily newscasts for Quibi, too.

The streamer also announced its partnership with Bell, Canada’s largest communications company. Bell will be the exclusive Canadian news and sports provider for the mobile-first platform. Two Bell Media series will become part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials.

In the U.S., Quibi will offer two plans — $4.99 with ads and $7.99 without ads.

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