With streaming dominating the industry — and more services on the way — IndieWire is taking a closer look at the news cycle and breaking down what really matters to provide a clear picture of what companies are winning the streaming wars and how they're pulling ahead. By looking at trends and curating developments down to what matters, the Streaming Wars Report will offer a clear picture of what's happening overall and day-to-day in streaming. This column will cover the major players, from Netflix to Disney+ to HBO Max, and be sure to check out our Indie Edition for thorough coverage of the boutique services.New Numbers
Streaming Is Up, Subscriptions Are Up, But What Does It Mean for Quibi? ⇔⇔⇔
It’s almost here: the day some thought would never come. No, not an end to our collective social distancing — Quibi’s launch is tomorrow, April 6. With everyone staying home, staring at their screens, the new streamer’s rollout couldn’t come at a better time… right?
Optimists will argue Quibi’s launch date arrives during an unprecedented demand for new content. Not only is Nielsen reporting 85 percent growth in streaming last month, but subscriptions are on the rise, too, which wasn’t a given. Unemployment is spiking, plenty of people are still paying for cable, and just about every streaming service promises they’ve got everything viewers are looking for, so there was no guarantee a mounting demand for television would go hand-in-hand with a jump in subscriptions. But Antenna, a new streaming analytics company, reported a 64-percent rise across eight major streaming platforms in mid-March.
Nascent streamer Disney+ saw a whopping 212-percent rise in subscriptions from week to week, while HBO shot up 90 percent, Showtime 78 percent, and Starz — yes, Starz! — grew by 49 percent over the same period. Now, these numbers aren’t verified by the services or a third party, but any growth is a good sign for Quibi; it means people are open to spending a little more for new, desirable content.
But the problem facing Quibi aside from all the non-COVID 19 related problems facing Quibi is threefold:Marketing: All of the streamers seeing big gains in subscribers are known brands. The premium cable giants transitioning to streaming have been making that transition for years. Disney+, while new, has a deep catalogue of known brands to dangle in front of potential subscribers. Even Apple TV+ launched five months ago and has the added advantage of reminding anyone with Apple TV, an iPhone, or a Mac, that the service is one more option right now. Branding is key, and Quibi has to build a brand from scratch. Not only that, but it has to build a brand from scratch at a time when everyone’s attention is focused on one thing and one thing only:...