Quibi, the short-format mobile only streaming platform that’s had a lot of hype for its 10 minutes or less shows, launched on Monday to much fanfare but according to reports that didn’t translate into many actual downloads.
According to The Wrap, which shared data from Sensor Tower, the platform’s day-one downloads paled in comparison to other streaming services launched within the last year. Quibi had just 300,000 downloads despite offering a free three-month trial to new users which would be, well, everyone that gave the new platform a shot thus far.
Meanwhile, that’s about 7.5 percent of the around 4 million downloads Disney+ saw on launch day when it debuted in November.
As of Tuesday morning, Quibi was the fourth most popular free app in Apple’s App Store in the U.S., and the seventh most popular free app in Canada. On Google Play, the app is ranked No. 81 in the U.S. and No. 96 in Canada.
Several people looking to use Quibi for the first time on Monday took to Twitter to complain about signup issues. Quibi did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but its “Quibi Cares” account on Twitter said the issues were remedied around midday Monday.
As The Wrap notes, the 300,000 downloads is more than six times another very popular platform’s debut, HBO Now. But that debuted a full five years earlier and as a companion to HBO’s premium cable offerings on traditional TV. Quibi, meanwhile, is starting from scratch with $1.75 billion in seed money to create new original programing by way or reality TV shows, documentaries and scripted television. It’s also important to note that unlike other streaming services, which can be accessed through a computer or television, Quibi’s mobile app is the only way to get the quick bites you’re paying for when you sign up.
It’s far too early to say what the numbers mean here, but the lack of a killer app out of the gate is certainly one thing you could blame the relatively low numbers on. Quibi boasts a plethora of shows, but no one program stands out as a must-watch, moment-defining pop culture creator like, say, Disney+’s The Mandalorian. There’s a long way to go and a lot of bites to quickly consume, but it’s not a smash hit the platform was hoping to create on day one.
Disney+ may benefit from further delays with the studio's theatrical releases as more movies may be going directly to the streaming service in the future. This, according to former Disney CEO and current Executive Chairman Bob Iger. It was recently revealed that Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney+ sometime this year, skipping a theatrical release. As Iger explains, that may not be the only title to make the move from theatrical to streaming, but don't expect to see it happen with the studio's upcoming tentpole releases.
Given what's going on in the world right now, most movie theaters are shut down entirely and virtually all major releases through June have been delayed. Some have wondered if Disney might put movies like Black Widow or Mulan on Disney+ instead. While that won't be happening, Bob Iger isn't ruling out other movies making the shift. Here's what Iger had to say about it in a recent interview.
'There are some we've decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we've simply delayed. In some cases we've moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened.'
'We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+. In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.'
There is a lot to unpack here. Black Widow and several other delayed movies were recently given new release dates as Disney reshuffled its 2020/2021 calendar. Black Widow and other big-budget tentpoles stand to make far more money in theaters, even with a relatively uncertain future ahead, than they could possibly generate via streaming. So putting movies like them directly on Disney+ doesn't make that much business sense.
In the meantime, taking riskier projects such as Artemis Fowl and giving Disney+ subscribers something flashy and exclusive is helpful. But what other movies might fit the bill for streaming debuts? The New Mutants perhaps? Whatever the case, as Bob Iger points out, the studio is content to wait until things return to normal. Disney, more than any other studio in Hollywood, is capable of raking in big dollars at the box office. So this truly isn't that surprising.
Other studios, on the other hand, may see value in doing a VOD/Digital release. Universal kicked that door wide open a couple of weeks back by putting recent releases such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt online. Trolls: World Tour, which was destined for theaters, will arrive digitally this month. Disney has not yet set a premiere date for Artemis Fowl, but it's...
At least 300,000 individuals downloaded Quibi, the entertainment industry's newest streaming service, on its Monday launch date according to data from two analytics firms.
Sensor Tower reported that more than 300,000 users downloaded the mobile-only, short form platform while App Annie estimated 700,000 users downloaded Quibi on Monday. The numbers were originally reported by Variety and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. IndieWire confirmed the data with both analytics firms.
The sharply varying numbers make it difficult to determine how much traction Quibi gained on its launch day and exemplifies the difficulty of determining how successful streaming services are. While Nielsen's ratings have long been the voice of authority for television viewership, there is no standard of measurement for the industry's numerous streaming services.
A Quibi spokesperson referred IndieWire to the Los Angeles Times report and did not release its own data on downloads.
“We are very excited about our day one performance,” Quibi said in a statement.
While it's unclear which data set is accurate, that at least 300,000 users downloaded the “quick bites” streaming service suggest that Quibi turned more than a few heads on Monday. The platform launched with dozens of original titles — Quibi offers no library content — and boasts significant star power. A wide variety of household names, from Cardi B and Chance the Rapper to Idris Elba, Will Forte, and Kaitlin Olson, star in various Quibi series, and entertainment industry heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh are working on upcoming projects for the platform.
While hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded the app, only time will tell if they stick around long enough to make the $1.75 billion-backed platform a success. Quibi is offering a lengthy 90-day free trial, which no doubt helped court early adopters, and a yearlong subscription is available for free to select T-Mobile customers. An ad-supported version of Quibi costs $4.99 per month, while the ad-free version runs $7.99 per month.
IndieWire praised a handful of Quibi's launch titles, including LeBron James’ documentary “I Promise” and the noire-inspired “Movie in Chapters.” That said, “Memory Hole,” one of IndieWire's top rated Quibi launch titles, became the center of controversy when an art collective claimed the show plagiarized its art and other material.