Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, May 13th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by adrenaline.
My apologies for the very late newsletter today. The problem with being a one-man band is that when you have a sick day there's no one available to take over your work.
THE PROBLEM WITH QUIBI
Although there aren't a lot of hard statistics to work with right now, there is a sense in the media industry that the mobile-only short-form streaming service Quibi is struggling. In a recent interview, Quibi’s co-founder, Jeffrey Katzenburg, has put its faltering start solely down to COVID-19. But many analysts of the company are not in agreement with his argument. Danyaal Rashid, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, provided his view on Quibi to AllYourScreens and it is a much more nuanced take than the one provided by Katzenberg:
Quibi has undoubtedly been hurt by COVID-19. The platform is tailored to commuters and ‘on-the-go’ viewing. With people forced to stay at home because of the lockdown, it is understandable that it did not live up to expectations. However, Quibi’s co-founder Jeffrey Katzenburg’s comments that Quibi’s faltering performance is solely attributable to COVID-19, are simply not true. The inability of management to adapt to COVID-19 set it on this path to failure.
According to Quibi, the platform has over 3.5 million downloads in its first month, yet just 1.3 million active users. This pales in comparison to some of the streaming behemoths – Disney+ received ten million downloads in its first 24 hours. The streaming industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the COVID-19 lockdown – Netflix doubled its new subscribers in Q1 2020 to 15.8 million, almost entirely due to bored people stuck at home. Some would argue that this is the perfect time to release a new streaming platform, and I’d be inclined to agree.
Quibi’s failure is due to its restrictive nature. The platform only supports mobile viewing and short-form video; the content library is weak compared to larger streamers; and at $7.99 a month, it is expensive – Disney+ is just $6.99 a month. Quibi lacked the dynamism to adapt to COVID-19. Users want to binge their favorite shows on the big screen –a problem Quibi faced even without the perils of COVID-19
Quibi has now announced that it will support the casting to TV screens, which will go some way to correct its self-imposed flaws. However, much remains to be done, just as lockdown restrictions are easing. If Quibi is increasingly streamed to TVs, it will become a more natural competitor to the streaming giants. However, the firm does not have the library to compete, especially at such an expensive price-point. Quibi may need to reduce its price and introduce long-form content to compete, but this risks losing the very thing that seemed to set Quibi apart in the first place.
I agree with much of his take, but I'll add a couple of other thoughts. Quibi's app insists that you pay primary attention to what it's streaming. You can't leave it on and flip over to your email or check Twitter while still listening. And while that might make sense from a creative standpoint, it also flies in the face of how most people use their phones. They multitask and Quibi doesn't allow that to happen.
The other problem is more about how people consume mobile video. I suspect the folks at Quibi looked at how much YouTube video is consumed on mobile and thought that datapoint showed there was an audience for mobile-only viewing. What they missed was that while lots of YouTube video is watched via mobile, YouTube's smart TV apps also garner a lot of viewing. YouTube also makes it easy to share video with others. And as of now, neither function is available in Quibi.
Quibi isn't dead. But it will require all of what's left of its $1.8 war chest to survive and find its audience.
Here is a rundown of the minimal number of new shows premiering today....
1) Dance Moms: Abby's Virtual Dance Off Series Premiere (Lifetime)
On Abby’s Virtual Dance Off, kids from across the country will showoff their best dance moves from the comfort of their own homes! A hip-hop routine in the kitchen or a ballet recital in the backyard - anything goes! In each episode, Abby will critique and judge each self-submitted performance and will Skype the winner to reveal who will dance off with the coveted title of “The Abby Dancer.”
2) Rattlesnake Road Trip (Smithsonian)
Rattlesnakes are the iconic reptiles of the southern U.S., but despite their fearsome reputation, these snakes continue the fight for their place in the wild. Enter Jules Sylvester, snake wrangler, who’s on a rattler road trip through the Wild West – fact-finding, myth-busting and rescuing wayward rattlers along the way.
3) The Wrong Missy (Netflix)
When Tim Morris meets his dream girl and their relationship quickly escalates through texts, he throws caution to the wind and invites her to his company’s corporate retreat on an island resort… However, when a past blind date from hell shows up at the airport for the weekend getaway instead, he learns too late that he’s been texting “The Wrong Missy”.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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