Quebec is Hollywood’s biggest short-form failure – but not its first

The demise of mobile-streaming platform Qibi six months after its demise is a prime example of Hollywood’s struggles to build a business with short form content.

QB may be the most well-known and best-funded attempt to break the short-profile, but it is far from the only one. The corpse of short-form streaming platforms pervades the media industry.

Some of the highest profile buses include Verizon Communications Inc.

Go-90, which was completed in 2018 after less than three years; The adventure between AT&T fullscreen Inc.

And the Cherinin group which ceased to exist last year; And Vessel, co-founded by former Hulu and current WernerMedia chief executive Jason Killer, and closed in 2016 after less than two years.

Quiby’s pitch was short episodes or “chapters” when he was on the phone to watch, say, going to work or standing in line in a food truck. He spent heavily on the original show and attracted many big stars, including Anna Kendrick and Kifer Sutherland. The subscription fee for the ad-supported version was 99 4.99 a month and 99 7.99 without ads.

David Craig, a professor and producer at the University of Southern California’s Annenburg School of Communications, said his mistake was to consider cellphones to be television.

Hollywood was eager to embrace the concept, even though many privately doubted its potential for success. Quibby had deep pockets and Jeffrey Katzenberg, a former executive at Wisley Disney Co. and co-founder of DreamWorks, and two heavyweights at Mag Whitman, former eBay Inc. and chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. That was enough for the producers to take the risk.

“These things pop up all the time in Hollywood Hollywood and agents see it as a huge paycheck,” said one producer who sold a show on a newlywed platform.

There is a universal agreement that an appetite for short form content exists, as evidenced by the success of social-media platforms such as Byddance Limited’s Ticket OK, Facebook. Inc.

Instagram and Alphabet Inc.

YouTube, which thrives on such rents. But it remains to be seen whether this is true for big-budget entertainment, especially what people have to pay.

Plus, people can stream big-budget content from services like Netflix Inc.

Or AT&T’s HBO Max on their phone and wait when they need to take a break.

Qibi “is not built around reaching out to the underworld community of one kind of content,” said Jordan Levine, general manager of Rooster Teeth, a fan-based video platform that is part of AT&T’s Warnermedia, like HBO Max.

Qibi also had no material capable of breaking popular culture, although he received 10 Emmy nominations and took home two trophies.

Chris Silberman, chief executive of talent agency ICM Partners, said in an email that a subscription platform hits to be successful. “Hulu took off after Netflix at a new level after ‘The M Mandal Ndolorian’ for ‘Hand Cum Cards’,’ House Cf Cards’ and Disney +. Qubi didn’t have much time to develop a cultural touchstone that it should have. ‘

Quiby was led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Mag Whitman.


Robin Beck / France Press Agency / Getty Images

One of Quebec’s Mistaps aims to do high-end programming at Audience-Millennials and General Z – which has grown to embrace user-generated content, especially on mobile devices.

“I know Quibi has spent all this money on producing high-quality content, but … it’s not necessary for General Z,” said Jenny Charnesky, founder of the consumer-insight company, Front Row Insights and Strategy.

Olivia Moore, 26, of early-stage venture company CRV, said the big names are also under-35 crowds. The number of is not so influential.

He said the QB recruited mainstream celebrities such as Liam Hemsworth, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lopez, not as big as the draw. “General Z-Irs will see Charlie D’Amilio pass by when his blood is drawn. He will have access to a scripted show starring a millennial actor.”

There is short form content on platforms like Netflix and HBO Max, not including “Love, Death and Robots” and “Not to Late Show with Elmo”, both of which typically last 15 minutes or less. But it complements the main draw: the long-form show.

It was a particularly bad time to start a service for the purpose used by people in the same way that an epidemic causes lockdown in the country. But the fact that Qibi was initially unavailable to watch on TV at a time when most of the country was sitting at home didn’t help.

In a letter to employees and investors announcing the shutdown, Mr. Katzenberg and Ms. Whitman said they felt the service was both epidemic and probably not conceptually strong.

A Qibi spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Some of Quebec’s shows are expected to have new homes elsewhere.

Chris Jackmin, a partner at WME Talent Agency and co-head of Digital, said some of the projects Qibi has purchased are well-completed and will have the opportunity to redevelop and find a home on other platforms.

It can be difficult to get back the rights to programming created for QB. Quebec’s typical licensing agreement is for seven years, with a warning that after two years, a creator can sell their show anywhere else, unless it’s in short form. In other words: create six 10-minute episodes in an hour-long program.

Although Quibi said it is partially closed to investors to get back any money, programmers who want to get their shows back will have to negotiate deals.

The head of one studio said he would do what he could to get the most money back into his investors’ pockets.

Action thriller “Most Dangerous Game”, produced by ViacomCBS Inc.

The most popular show on CBS and the platform, which has already attracted the interest of other streamers, said people familiar with the matter.

Nick Santora, producer of “Most Dangerous Game,” said the show plans to make a series of high-end movies similar to the “John Wick” franchise. Although Quiby was short-lived, Mr. Santora has no regrets, and thinks there is no future for the genre.

“I felt that telling a story with a small bite was incredibly exciting. It honors my expertise as a writer and exhibitor, ”he said. “I think there is an appetite for storytelling no matter the length. Some of the most famous stories so far are short stories. ”

Write to Fl Flint only at [email protected]

Improvement and amplification
At one point in the earlier version of this article, Qibi’s name was misspelled as Kubi. (Retrieved October 24)

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