Bye bye IGTV, Quibi lets you watch in both portait and landscape modes

Quibi in both vertical and landscape
Quibi in both vertical and landscape (Image credit: Quibi)

What you need to know

  • Quibi is a new streaming service that's designed to be viewed on your phone in small segments of time, often seven to ten minutes.
  • 175 new shows are planned for the first year, and at least three hours of new content are scheduled for release every weekday of the year.
  • Subscription pricing starts at $4.99, and the service starts streaming on April 6th.

Are you like me and hate the concept of vertical video? While some platforms try to embrace the fact that many people are too lazy to turn their phones to watch a proper video, Quibi is banking on exactly the opposite scenario to unfold. Quibi will provide users with the ability to watch its shows in either landscape or portrait formats, each format offering a different perspective during the show.

Quibi is hoping this revolutionary new way of viewing videos helps please everyone, no matter what your viewing preferences are, and will even encourage viewers to take a more active role in viewing content by choosing what they see. Quibi's minute-long teaser in the Tweet below paints an incredibly intriguing picture and what might ultimately get quite a few people to subscribe to the service.

Quibi is headed by CEO Meg Whitman, a name you might recognize from her tenure as President and CEO at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Seeing as how the streaming market has become a bit crowded as of late, Whitman and the founder of Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg, had to come up with a unique way of presenting content that would entice folks out of an additional $5 per month. The result is a service that's based entirely around the fact that people are using their phones to stream more video than ever and often watch lots of content on the go.

The biggest issue with on-the-go entertainment often revolves around the amount of time available to watch content, usually blocks of only a few minutes at a time. As a result, Quibi, which is an abbreviation of "quick bites", has staked its entire purpose on delivering shows and movies in short seven to ten-minute segments. Quibi said that it'll deliver 175 new shows in its first year, which begins on April 6th, and will cost $4.99 per month with ads or $7.99 per month for an ad-free subscription. Don't worry about those ads too much though, as Quibi says ads will only be six-to-ten seconds long for most types of programming. T-Mobile subscribers will also get access to Quibi for free on many plans, adding to the company's free Netflix policy.

Big names like Steven Spielberg, Chrissy Teigen, Cara Delevingne, Zac Efron, and Bill Murray are all creating content just for Quibi, and you can even find big spots like 60 Minutes offering up daily news in bite-sized segments. Content will span three different categories: movies, shows, and daily essentials. The line between movies and shows is very likely to get blurred on the service, though, as both formats are sticking to the seven-to-ten minute timeframe and breaking things up into chapters. At least three hours of content are scheduled to arrive every single weekday to the service, meaning you should be able to find plenty to watch during your daily commute to work.

Quibi is utilizing a partnership with Google to develop the back end technology for the service, which is hosted on the Google Cloud and should provide some incredibly robust, high-quality streaming. Surprisingly, the Google Pixel team also has a hand in the pot and is working to optimize the mobile viewing experience. It's certainly a big gamble given the successful launch of Disney Plus (Disney+) over the past few months, in addition to the plethora of other streaming video services that exist, free or paid.

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Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu