Quibi: New Netflix rival lets users stream videos in portrait mode on iPhone and Android

Videos will be no longer than 10 minutes and can only be watched on mobiles

Andrew Griffin@_andrew_griffin
Thursday 09 January 2020 10:31

A new streaming service has launched to take on rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – by offering users the chance to watch their videos the other way up.

Quibi, which is founded by a former head of Disney, is designed specifically to be watched on mobile phones in contrast to other services.

As such, it will let people watch in portrait mode, allowing viewers to see the video across the full phone screen regardless of which way up they are held, which has traditionally been unsupported on other streaming platforms. It will also show much more limitetd programming, with videos limited to 10 minutes long.

The platform is set to launch in the US in April and will include content created by the likes of Steven Spielberg and Reese Witherspoon.

Giving the first look at the new service at CES in Las Vegas, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said the platform wanted to "tell stories that are optimised for viewing on the go".

In contrast to other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, Quibi will also offer short news bulletins from a number of sources, including the BBC and NBC.

Mr Katzenberg said the name Quibi was short for "quick bites" - referring to the short-form pieces of content which would make up the service - with the idea being to reach users who were on the move or short of time.

The company said that in its first year, 175 new and original shows would appear on the service - with a total of 8,500 "quick bites of content".

The firm's chief executive Meg Whitman said Quibi was different because it was not based around programmes made for TV and making them fit onto phones, but rather making content specifically for mobile.

"We're not shrinking TV on phones, we're creating something new. The very first entertainment technology platform optimised for mobile viewing, with quick bite content created by Hollywood's top talent," she said.

The platform will also launch with two subscription options - a normal rate which will include advertising, or a slightly higher price for an advert-free experience.

Additional reporting by agencies

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