Much ink has been spilled about Quibi over the last year, from its well-funded inception to its Super Bowl spots, and then the mobile video platform’s very public struggles since it debuted in April. While the challenges (especially those related to the pandemic) haven’t been erased yet, Quibi’s at least been trying some new things of late.
Along with news that the app is paying digital media sites for positive reviews of its shows (much like other streaming services have done before it), this summer also revealed that they were launching a free, ad-supported version of Quibi in Australia and New Zealand. Competing with the FASTS–free, ad-supported TV services–is no easy feat given the money backing the likes of Tubi, Pluto TV, Xumo, Peacock, VIZIO, Samsung TV Plus, and more. But considering Quibi’s difficulties when going toe-to-toe with SVODs, it’s at least worth trying something new.
Quibi is also trying something new on social video. While the vast majority of Quibi’s YouTube views in the first half of the year came from its commercials, according to Tubular Labs, that’s changed entirely since July 1. Instead, the service’s new strategy for social video revolves around trailers and teasers for its various original shows, potentially hoping that leaving the “Quibi” part out of it will drive more intrigue among consumers.
The shift really started in June, following a bit of a marketing reset from mid-April through the end of May. From June 1 through Aug. 13, Quibi posted 104 YouTube videos (an average of 1.41 per day), and they collectively netted 205 million views. For comparison, Quibi posted 101 YouTube videos from Feb. 1 through May 31 (an average of 0.83 uploads per day) for a total of 340 million collective views. The service did get more views per video in the earlier timeframe, but also did so over a much longer period of time.
If Quibi decides to fully shift to the FASTS route, it could find itself competing on a more even playing field as well. Tubular data from the first half of the year shows that Amazon Prime Video had three times as many YouTube views as Quibi did, while Netflix had nearly 20 times more. But when comparing Quibi to FASTS, they don’t face the same odds. Peacock’s most active social video platform, Twitter, has generated 25.6 million views since June 1. Xumo barely uses social video at all. Pluto saw 604K video views on Facebook in the same timeframe, while had 30.7K total views on Facebook.
Though social video views don’t tell the entire story, it’s at least one measure to show where there’s opportunity for Quibi to succeed should it opt to commit to the FASTS space. Granted, it would still be going up against the likes of YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, with their own original productions and vast troves of user-generated content. It’s still a start, though, to remove the biggest hurdle of getting new users to sign up: convincing them to outlay actual dollars.
Quibi didn’t limit its increased presence to social video recently, either. They also opted for a new approach to TV advertising starting in July. Since the start of that month, TV ads have taken a similar turn toward show promos, shining a spotlight on titles like Die Hart, The Fugitive, and Most Dangerous Game. Data from iSpot.tv shows Quibi has spent $12.2 million on TV ads from July 1 through Aug. 13 versus just $4.5 million in all of May and June. The return of live sports has been a big part of its strategy, too, with one-third of all TV ad impressions coming from sports-related programming since the start of July.
Quibi is clearly identifying some chances to adjust its approach. Now we wait and see if those changes mean a second wind for the streaming service.