What’s Quibi, the Streaming Service Lining Up Hollywood’s Biggest Names?

If you’ve been keeping up with entertainment news, then you might have heard about a new streaming service called Quibi. We know, it sounds like another play for your hard-earned dollars in the realm of cord-cutting and streaming wars. It’s hard to keep up, right? But Quibi has slowly been positioning itself as a standout in a world where Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ are vying for your eyes and money. It’s very different.

Quibi logo
Quibi logo | Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

What is Quibi?

A unique platform founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, Quibi is taking advantage of the mobile video space by bringing entertainment to the tiny screen on your phone. The partners ramped up their media rounds this past summer explaining what Quibi is and how it will work.

Quibi—short for “quick bites”—will specialize in short-form content that’s viewed in episodes that are generally no longer than 10 minutes. A movie or series will be cut down into small bits and released on a regular schedule. There is also a news program in the works that will feature six-minute customized feeds.

Katzenberg told Vanity Fair Quibi is not looking to compete with television content creators, but wants to fill brief moments throughout your day with something to watch:

“I’m going to continue to believe, and argue, and preach that Quibi is not a substitute or a competitor for television. Our [service] is exclusively about what you do from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on your phone. And what you’re doing today, if you’re in our core demographic of 25- to 35-year-olds, is you’re actually watching 60-70 min of YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. That growth is now a well-established consumer habit that Quibi is sailing into.”

The video service squared away $1 billion in seed funding with major studios like MGM, Lionsgate, and Disney among its investors. Quibi has big plans.

A number of A-listers are already on board with Quibi

Bill Murray. Liam Hemsworth. Zac Efron. Steven Spielberg. Sophie Turner. Russo Brothers. All of these people and more have signed on to work on projects for Quibi with some ready to debut when the platform launches in April 2020.

Scan some headlines about Quibi and you’ll find there’s something for everyone including documentaries, comedies, superhero series, dramas, horror anthologies, animal shows, and even a Varsity Blues reboot. Steven Spielberg is writing a multi-chapter horror story that is reportedly so creepy he only wants it viewed at midnight.

Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz will star in a thriller for the platform, Queen Latifah has an upcoming drama, and The Hollywood Reporter notes Kiefer Sutherland is doing a Fugitive revival. According to Deadline, there’s also Punk’d reboot on the way, a series from Laurence Fishburne, and a horror anthology produced by Sam Raimi. The latter features an ensemble cast that includes Rachel Brosnahan and Christina Ricci.

Viewers will also be treated to projects involving Will Packer, Antoine Fuqua, and Don Cheadle, and the Russo Brothers are helming a docuseries about Marvel versus DC. Look at this tweet to see who else is joining with her own show:

How much will Quibi cost and what can users expect?

Users can sign up for Quibi’s ad option for $4.99 per month or the ad-free version for $7.99 a month. According to what Katzenberg told Vanity Fair, there will be 7,000 pieces of shortform content, including a series from Idris Elba about stunt-driving. That show will fall under its “Quick Bites” category, while hours-long movie and TV series from creators like Spielberg will be part of its “Lighthouse Essentials” offerings.

Each piece of content will run on its own daily or weekly schedule, and Quibi will only be available on mobile phones. The service will launch next spring around the same time as HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock.