Since hitting US markets in early April 2020, Quibi, its brand a portmanteau of quick bites, has already made its name as the frontrunner in mobile-centric, subscription-based, short-form video programming.

In fact, at least 1.7M people have downloaded Quibi from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store in its first week.

Is Quibi’s bite-sized mobile video going to be a game changer for OTT streaming and advertising? Here’s our take.

“Quibi’s launch will bring significant disruption to the video landscape. While not an ad opportunity today, it will be in the mid-term future and should be on your radar as an important part of your media mix.”


— Jesse Math, VP of Planning and Platforms at Tinuiti


1. What Is Quibi?


Quibi is a mobile video-streaming app that focuses on short-form content, or quick bites (Quibi for short), that launched in the US on April 6th, 2020.

Founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and led by CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi’s bet on short videos for Millennial and Gen Z audiences is rooted in tall ambitions; the company believes they will change how video content is viewed and produced.

Quibi already packs over thirty programs, many featuring celebrity superpowers like Cardi B, Offset, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart, and Chrissy Teigen. Even Hollywood powerhouses like Steven Spielberg are rumored to be working on Quibi’s upcoming horror offerings.


quibi founders

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman


A mobile-centric streaming video platform


On why they will not release a non-mobile version, Whitman stated, “There is an unmet consumer need from seven in the morning ’til seven at night, and on-the-go viewing is super important. The mobile phone was the device that we wanted to focus on, and that was a differentiator for us.”


quibi mobile


Quibi seems to understand the on-the-go nature of current viewership trends, bringing “storytelling into life’s in-between moments”. This mobile-only decision could lead to some interesting OTT advertising opportunities later on.

“Quibi does have major challenges ahead. Some say that Quibi raised too much capital, and has to maintain unrealistic subscriber growth to sustain its production volume. Quibi enters the streaming wars against cross-screen / CTV competitors including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, and Peacock. They say that a $1B production budget pales in comparison to Netflix’s $17B. Quibi, of course, did not plan to launch during a pandemic, and COVID has significantly disrupted production schedules,” explains Math.

“While the streaming wars are more competitive than ever, much of the industry is expecting Quibi to take off. They have raised close to $3B in funding, and their year one production budget is over $1B.”


And the expectations may be right; Quibi reportedly received over 300,000 downloads on its first day of being on app stores.


2. Quibi’s Target Audience: Millennials and Gen Z


Quibi’s content and targeting are geared toward two specific demographics: Millennials and Generation Z viewers.

Founder Katzenberg states, “Quibi is really for 18-to-44-year-olds, and very, very targeted at the 25-to-35-year-old millennial. We are not kids; we are not family.”

quibi audience

Katzenberg continues, “Maybe someday we will be that, but we are not tackling that because it’s just a whole other audience and a whole completely different type of content and programming, and we frankly don’t have the bandwidth to try and be all things to all people. Our bull’s-eye is a 25-to-35-year-old, multicultural, diverse millennial audience.” 


quibi audience demographics

Source: eMarketer


According to research, males and females in the 18 – 38 age range are most likely to subscribe to Quibi. Additionally, Black and Hispanic audiences are among those most likely to subscribe to Quibi, affirming Katzenberg’s statements on diversity. 


3. What We Know About Quibi Ads


“Quibi is launching with ads only from top advertisers: Progressive, Discover, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, AB InBev, Taco Bell, Pepsi, T-Mobile, Google and Walmart. You can expect Quibi to open up to additional advertisers within 6 months, and potentially re-evaluate increased ad load in a year,” says Math.


Non-skippable pre-roll ads for lower-tier subscribers


According to The Verge, “those companies can run pre-roll ads in 6-, 10-, or 15-second increments before the episode of any show. Subscribers won’t be treated to any mid-roll ads, which are the commercials that appear halfway through a video.”

However, these pre-roll ads only show for subscribers that pay the $ 4.99-month subscriptions. Subscribers that pay for $8 a month will have an ad-free experience.


quibi ads


“One challenge advertisers need to be aware of, is that Quibi is mobile-only. The format shifts framing from vertical to horizontal depending on how the user holds their device and ads will have to also,” says Math.

“Next, up in the ad-supported OTT streaming wars is HBO Max launching in May, followed by Peacock in July. OTT is already a channel with massive scale, and the streaming wars have truly not yet even begun.”



So, what could future advertising on Quibi look like as it opens to more advertisers? It will most likely combine SVOD techniques of current cross-channel OTT platforms but with a mobile-first strategy.

62% of adults in the United States subscribe to a streaming service like Quibi. With an increasing amount of consumers cutting the cord, OTT advertising is becoming even more attractive as an essential part of advertisers’ media mix.

Time will tell if Quibi becomes one of streaming’s household names that belong in that mix.


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