Streaming Service Quibi Off to Strong Start, Topping Disney+ and Netflix in Downloads

April 7, 2020by Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
A home featured in Quibi's "Murder House Flip." (Travis Cox/Quibi)

MILLBRAE, Calif. — Quibi, the new Hollywood streaming service, had a promising launch on Monday, with a surge of downloads catapulting it to become one of the most popular entertainment apps, according to San Francisco app analytics firm App Annie.

The startup ranked second for U.S. entertainment apps for the iPhone from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, App Annie said. The number one app during that time period based on the number of hourly app downloads was video sharing app TikTok. Placing below Quibi in third place was Disney+, followed by Netflix and Hulu, the analytics firm said.

On Sunday, the top five entertainment iPhone apps were TikTok, followed by Disney+, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, App Annie said. When Quibi launched on Monday morning, Amazon wasn’t part of the top five.

“It’s a strong start for a brand new app without an established brand or content like Disney+,” said Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights for App Annie.

App Annie said the number of downloads was not immediately available.

Sensor Tower, a San Francisco firm that tracks app data, said Tuesday that it estimates more than 300,000 mobile phone users in the U.S. and Canada installed the app on Monday.

Sensor Tower compared Quibi to HBO Now, which launched in April 7, 2015, with 45,000 installs, and to Disney+, which launched in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 12 with 4 million installs.

“Quibi’s release figures were bolstered by a lengthy preorder period, effectively front-loading a significant number of downloads into its launch day,” wrote Randy Nelson, head of Sensor Tower’s mobile insights, in a blog post.

Quibi, which streams programs in segments of 10 minutes or less, charges $4.99 a month for programming with ads and $7.99 without ads. The service started on Monday with 50 shows, including movies told in chapters like the Sophie Turner thriller “Survive” and the prank show “Punk’d.”

The company has raised $1.75 billion and advertised in prominent places, including a Super Bowl ad that cost $5.6 million.

The service launched at a time when more consumers are sheltering at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus, which has caused 395 deaths in California. Quibi had been initially pitched as a streaming service for people on the go, who could watch these short entertaining videos while waiting for their coffee or riding the subway.

Even before COVID-19’s spread, some analysts were skeptical that people would be willing to pay for short-form video when they can watch user-generated videos for free on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Other analysts, however, think Quibi could benefit from the surge in home viewing and the hunger among consumers for diversionary entertainment.

To entice more consumers to give it a try, Quibi extended its free trial to 90 days from two weeks. It also has a partnership with T-Mobile, which allows some customers to receive Quibi as part of certain plans.

Quibi did not release its own app download data but said it was pleased with its launch. Quibi said its app ranked third in the top apps in Apple’s App Store, only behind video conference tool Zoom and TikTok. In the entertainment category, Quibi ranked second, behind TikTok, but in front of Netflix and Disney+, Quibi said.

“We are very excited about our day one performance,” Quibi said in a statement.

In a LinkedIn post, Quibi Chief Executive Meg Whitman acknowledged that “the world is in a very different place today than it was even two weeks ago.”

“It is our hope that Quibi will provide a small moment of laughter, inspiration, or information during this unprecedented moment in our lives,” Whitman said in her post.


©2020 Los Angeles Times

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