New short-form streaming app Quibi is out of touch

(Christian Aguilar-Garcia/Lariat)

For as long as the necessity for people to have access to their favorite content exists, there too will also exist a variety of content-streaming applications. To that end, there is an abundance of existing and upcoming streaming services that hope to secure relevance by dominating their respective markets or at minimum remain a viable contender for the throne, often through a niche format or exclusive access to intellectual properties.

While streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ maintain a significant lead over competing services, it should be said that their popularity is not without contention from eager up-and-comers ready to disrupt the status quo. As of April 6th, the newest streaming service Quibi was unveiled to the masses.

Quibi stands ready in anticipation for its opportunity to supplant the throne and establish itself as a serious contender in the streaming wars. However, not all appears to be in favor of the fledgling streaming service.

In short, Quibi is aimed at younger generations in the way that it assumes millenials have drastically minuscule attention spans. This assumption coupled with the inability to use the service in any form that isn’t a cell phone only highlight the variety of issues that inhibit the platforms ability to succeed.

As has been seen in the past, ever so often a new streaming service arrives on the scene in an attempt to persuade users to their specific style of services and offerings. In the past these efforts manifested in failed apps such as Shomi, VidAngel, Seeso, Yahoo Screen and Playstation Vue.

While the success of these services is variable, they ultimately failed to capture an audience that was interested in their specific set of programming and thus, became defunct. In this way, it should seem apparent what steps a fledgling service should take to avoid potential shutdown. In that regard, Quibi is an outlier.

With Quibi’s verifiable lack of branded content, a strange new short-form media format and insistence that all of it’s content is solely relegated to the realm of smartphone screens. Quibi has more in the way of issues than it does in the way of informed choices. While there is some merit as to the efficiency of smaller bite sized portions, these types of videos are typically associated with social media posts and non-streaming applications such as Instagram and TikTok.

In what was perhaps a bid to establish the convenience of Quibi’s format, lies the crucial error of the platform. Essentially, full length programming is cut into smaller segments for the purpose of providing more easily consumable pieces of streaming media. With that consideration in mind, Quibi fails to establish pacing and effectively cheapens it’s offerings by pulling away from the program (unless you opt to pay for the ad-free version) and introducing commercials between 10 minute episodes.

Additionally, due to the forced aspect ration that Quibi demands, viewing can be questionable as programming tends to favor the center of the screen depending on the orientation in which you hold your device. All in all, it results in a format that introduces caveats in the name of convenience.

While time will tell if the Quibi platform has what it takes to be successful in the modern world of VOD offerings and exclusive branded content, it should be noted that many of the “revolutionary” features that Quibi offers have already been spearheaded by other platforms. In many ways, Quibi attempts to distance itself from the competition in ways that no one seems to have asked for.