Quibi Founder and Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman made a pit stop at the Produced By conference this afternoon to rally their new mobile platform service.
Both discussed various stats, the content dollar spend and general financial breakdown of the video short service.
“We’ve raised $1 billion, probably $500 million more (after launch)” said Whitman. Launching on April 6, 2020 Quibi will cost $4,99 a month, spend $470 million on marketing and will spend $1 billion on content.
“We’ll have an opening weekend,” added Katzenberg, “I’m confident on April 6 next year that anyone in North America will know about Quibi. It’s ours to lose.” The core demo is 25-35, give or take 7 years above or below that range.
“We’re the first OTT service launched without acquiring a library,” added Whitman. Key in launching this new Hollywood-Silicon Valley mash-up was putting the HQ in Los Angeles, but putting creative and tech talent side by side. Right now Quibi counts 135 employees, and they’re from Snap, Pandora, Spotify and Google.
Essentially, Quibi will drop videos in 7-10 minute chunks, which if you think about it, per Katzenberg, is akin to story-telling scenes in a TV drama ala This Is Us. There will be no more than 2 1/2 minutes worth of ads in an hour. There will be a 15 second ad pre-roll for a 5-10 minute session, and for those less than 5 minutes, there will be less than a 5 second ad.
While advertisers are already used to this type of format on such platforms like Spotfiy, Quibi is encouraging to sell their brand in a way similar to Quibi, broken out and telling a story in various mini-chunks, i.e. a 60-second ad broken out in 6-10 second bits. Will this work? Whitman and Katzenberg will know from the data once people start watching content. They’ll change the format accordingly.
Quibi has already announced a slew of upcoming content. Katzenberg broke down some economics on the Seith Mann-directed 2 1/2 hour movie #Freerayshawn starring Stephen James and Laurence Fishburne and produced by Antoine Fuqua. The movie cost $15M. It will be viewed in roughly 15 chapters 7-10 minutes each in length. “We paid cast breakage for Laurence and James,” said Katzenberg. Quibi drops the movie but then Fuqua goes back and cuts a long-form version of the film. In two years, the movie is his free and clear to own and sell around the world. Katzenberg trumpeted that Quibi is the anomaly because content creators “can own their own IP.”
#Freerayshawn, tells the story of a young, black Iraq War veteran named Rayshawn (James) who is set up by New Orleans police on a drug deal, runs for his life, and takes refuge inside his apartment building with his girlfriend and child. With New Orleans PD and the SWAT team outside ready to storm his home, a social media frenzy begins as community members and news outlets arrive at the scene. During this growing mayhem, a sympathetic cop named Steven Poincy (Fishburne) plays the role of negotiator, and, over the course of one brutally stressful day, Steven tries to get Rayshawn to calmly surrender in order to avoid an escalation of unnecessary violence.
Other content creators on board: Steven Soderbergh who signed yesterday to produce a prestige project on Quibi, Blumhouse and Anna Kendrick.
Says Katzenberg about the longevity of Quibi: “Plan for the worst, count on the best.”
“Quibi will be the next form of storytelling,” added the former DreamWorks co-founder. “We’re the next great growth opportunity for producers and Hollywood.”
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