Hey SportsTech fans,
The first major casualty of the streaming wars has been announced, it’s Quibi!
The short form, mobile focused streaming platform raised $1.75 billion and raised even more hype in Hollywood and Silicon Valley as it promised to be the next big thing.
It launched in early April of this year amidst the pandemic and set its sights on signing up millions of subscribers for its $7.99 a month without ads or $4.99 with ads offering.
As of a couple of weeks ago they had 500,000 paying subscribers!
They have decided to pull the plug now to return money to investors instead of continuing on a path that they see as only having one outcome, failure.
They have laid blame on the pandemic, which kind of makes sense as I saw their target audience as commuters on the bus or train looking to kill 10 minutes by consuming one of their “chapters”.
But the pandemic also gave people more time to consume content as they remained at home and were looking for content to escape from the boring and scary reality of lockdown, so I am not sure how much water that holds.
Contrast that to TikTok, which saw an explosion of consumption and content creation.
Both are short form video content platforms, but that’s where the similarities end.
Quibi paid massive amounts of money to high profile celebrities for high-budget content.
Tiktok provided a social platform for anyone to create content on their platform. And whilst they have a $2 billion creator fund, it is performance driven not perceived value driven.
Quibi produced Hollywood big picture style quality on high end cameras with the plan to distribute it via mobile devices, with a time to market more akin to Hollywood than social
Tiktok allows anyone to use their phone to create the content and have an extensive filters and effects library to allow user to get creative, with the distribution on the same device in an instant to give a real time feel as content that stayed on top of events
Quibi restricted social features like sharing, commenting, voting etc. which made it feel like just another content platform that felt disconnected from other users consuming the content at the same time.
Tiktok has leaned into social with all of the regular features but adding new ones like duets, using sounds, allowing users to go live
Quibi prevented screenshots altogether initially but 3 months after they allowed it but through a convoluted process, which killed off any potential meme culture from cropping up which would have helped them grow their subscriber base
Tiktok actively courts meme culture and every day there is a new trend created that people replicate which draws in further viewers, creators and increases time spent on the app. Users can also share the videos with their friends and download a video to share with whatever messaging service a user wants to use
Quibi was a place for curated content through the deals they did with studios, directors actors etc. which limits the amount of content available at any given moment
Tiktok makes use of its now infamous algorithm to filter through the mass amounts of content created everyday on the platform to create a personalised experience for everyone
Quibi was a place that saw household names create content in a new format. They had signed up stars like Spielberg, Idris Elba, Chance the Rapper among others
Tiktok has created new stars that are reaching fame and fortune among younger audiences that traditional celebrities could only dream of.
There are many more differences between the platforms, but I guess the most glaring one, is that one is taking over the social media landscape with silly dances and 60 second videos, whilst the other is shutting down after 6 months after raising $1.75 billion.
Will there be more casualties of the streaming wars? Absolutely!
Will they be as high profile and as short lived as Quibi? Probably not.
Have a great sporting weekend.