Surprise: Streaming Service “Quibi” Now Available In The UK

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Just when you thought the streaming wars were finally cooling off… Surprise! Star-studded streaming service “Quibi”, which focuses on short (10 minutes or less) episodes or clips, and only works on mobile phones – has arrived, quietly and without much fanfare – to the UK (and several other countries).

Quibi (pronounced kwee-bee) is an American subscription-based streaming service that was founded by former Disney chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Unlike other streaming services like Netflix or Disney+, you can’t watch Quibi on your telly or even on your laptop – it only works via the iOS/Android smartphone app.

Quibi free shawnryan

And as a service that focuses on mobile phones, the episodes and clips are therefore all short – just 10 minutes or less. Most of the programmes are high-budget, star-studded productions with multiple episodes/chapters – and still, every episode is under 10 minutes. (Which is where the strange name – Quibi – comes from – as a short for “Quick Bites”).

Quibi launched in the US on April 6, 2020, with a $1.7 Billion(!) investment behind it. On its first week, Quibi reported 1.7 million downloads (in comparison, Disney+ reported 12.5 million users on its first week, back in November 2019).

Initially, the launch was US-only, and other countries were supposed to be added in the future. But surprisingly, Quibi started operating in other countries as well this week – so it’s a very quiet international launch.

How Do I Get Quibi?

As a smartphone-only service, you first need to download the app – either for your iPhone or your Android phone

Quibi main app screen

Then, you need to sign up – and until the end of April, you can get a 90-days FREE trial. (That’s pretty generous when compared to Disney+’s 7-days trial, or other services that only offer 30 days.)

Once the trial is over, Quibi will cost £7.99/month for the ad-free experience. (In the US, they also have a $4.99 plan with adverts). That’s cheaper than Netflix’ £8.99 standard HD plan, but more expensive than Disney+’s £5.99/m or Amazon Prime Video’s £5.99/m.

The app itself lets you either stream programmes directly, or download them to your device for offline viewing.

Interestingly, the programmes are filmed and edited in such a way that you can watch them either in landscape mode or portrait mode – though it’s pretty clear you get a better, wider view when in landscape. 

What Can I Watch On Quibi?

With so much money behind it, and the backing of several major Hollywood studios (like NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, WarnerMedia and others), Quibi’s programmes are all highly-produced with a long list of stars.

Quibi releases new programmes every week, with new short-form episodes released every day. (So if you like a new series, you can’t binge-watch it right away – you’ll have to wait until all the episodes have aired).

Chrissy's court quibi

The programmes, which range from thrillers to dramas, talkshows and even reality programmes include:

  • Punk’d – A reboot of the celebrity prank show (once hosted by Ashton Kutcher), which is now hosted by Chance the Rapper.
  • Survive – A thriller series starring Sophie Turner (of Game of Thrones fame) as a woman who wants to “end it all”, but when she survives a plane crash, she gets “a new drive to stay alive.”
  • Chrissy’s Court – A judge-Judy style comedy that stars model Chrissy Teigen and her mother, where she judges real people and real cases.
  • Fierce Queens – A nature show hosted by Reese Witherspoon, it explores the fabulous females of the animal kingdom.
  • #FreeRayShawn – A “movie in chapters” that stars Laurence Fishburne and Stephan James, about a young Iraq War veteran who finds himself in a showdown with a New Orleans SWAT team and tries to talk his way out of the situation with the help of a sympathetic officer. 

I will publish a full review of Quibi soon. 

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