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New ‘phone-optimised’ streaming service launches

A long-awaited streaming service called Quibi has launched. The service promises a new way to watch bite-sized series – and users decide whether to watch in portrait or landscape, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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TV content has needed a major refresh for a long time now. With Netflix and Showmax, we’ve seen a major uptake in mobile watching – but not in content. Enter Quibi, a streaming service that’s tailored to how users watch content on their devices – with the option of landscape or portrait, and not for longer than 15 minutes.

The service looks like a nice mix between Netflix and TikTok, with longer, premium-produced content in 10-minute bite-sized episodes. Quibi says it will present fresh content from today’s top talent – one quick bite at a time.

Series are split in episodes as usual and movies are split by chapters, that make both types of content possible to consume in smaller chunks. This makes the service ideal for those who don’t have a full 90 minutes to take in a movie, but still want to watch something equivalent.

Choosing to watch in landscape or portrait is a reality, thanks to what Quibi calls Turnstyle – a feature that allows users to opt between watching in either format. This means that two copies of a show are streamed at the same time, and users can rotate their phone to get another perspective on the content.

In a seriously saturated market of streaming services, Quibi doesn’t have an extensive catalogue of old content or “franchise heroes”, as other services do. Instead, it offers a fresh set of content with well-known talent like Tyra Banks, Idris Elba, Will Arnett, Tom Cruise, Laura Dern, Zac Efron, and Crissy Tiegen.

Quibi’s chairman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, is best known for reinvigorating the Disney brand between 1984 and 1994 when he served as chairman of Walt Disney Studios.

The service is launching with around 50 shows and movies, ranging from unscripted reality shows to scripted films.

Quibi costs R130 per month with no ads. In the US, a cheaper plan at $4.99 per month is offered with some ads. For a limited 90-day free trail, download the Quibi app before the end of April before subscribing.

Quibi is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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