Andrew here, adding to Travis’ take, echoing much of what he said.
I’ve watched a few of the reality TV style shows on the service, mainly focusing on the routine pap that would usually fill up the moments in between your regularly scheduled advertising viewing. While flitting between a reality show on celebrities being gifted custom made dog houses, through to celebrities gifting strangers a million bucks, through to… a house renovation show focused on doing up ‘murder houses’, I kept coming back to the same question… is this worth $15 a month?
I signed up to Quibi on the 90-day trial because, well, who doesn’t like free stuff? And, I’ve found myself being widely disappointed with the service as a whole. The functionality is good, and extremely adaptive. The app moves like lightning; flitting through shows is quick, responsive and also mildly overwhelming. The ‘key feature’ of the app is being able to swap from landscape to portrait modes with ease. It’s a neat move, turning your phone and getting a broader view of what you’re watching, but is it a major selling point?
No, not at all. In fact, I struggle to recall any of the names of shows on the service, instead – like Travis mentioned – I can only think of the shows or movies that these slices of entertainment are not. It’s not The Hitcher. It’s not The Most Dangerous Game. It’s not The Block. But, that’s all you can think of when you’re browsing the Quibi library: other stuff.
Even the things that should be interesting – Anna Kendrick’s version of Lars and the Real Girl, or a cooking competition show with Tituss Burgess – are bland and too familiar. There’s nothing on here that feels shareable or essential viewing. Add in the fact that the amount of content that’s recycled from your Facebook feed – Dodo, TMZ, E News, and Jimmy Fallon videos galore – and really, it’s hard to say, yeah, you simply have to try out Quibi.
Add in the fact that you’re stuck watching the content on your phone, meaning that the communal aspect of watching TV disappears (although a bigger screen version is apparently in the works), all the while also being denied the chance to tweet/post about the show you’re watching, well, it makes Quibi a very insular experience. It wants to be a service for all, and yet, a service for nobody at the same time.
Which, wrapping this quick bite review of a quick bite service up, is an inherent problem that all of these services are finding in this streaming explosion of content: the dearth of ‘must watch’ content. As each new provider stumbles into the fray with Netflix, Disney, and Amazon, they need to work even harder to stand out above the rest. If Apple TV failed to capture an audience of iFaithfuls, then what hope does Quibi have? Even if the world wasn’t stuck at home, I fail to see how this would succeed in a world of commuting from home to work.
I pondered the question about what would happen to the shows on a service like Quibi if it failed, and yet, after sitting with the shows for just over a week, I find that I honestly couldn’t see a place in history where these slices of ‘entertainment’ a worthwhile retaining. That’s an awfully cruel thing to say, but from my perspective, there’s little value in jumping on the Quibi train.