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Reviews for Quibi, the Much-Hyped Short Video App, Are In: ‘Nobody is Commuting Right Now’

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Quibi, a mobile-only video streaming service meant to provide viewers with “quick bites” of content, is getting panned by critics who highlight the mistake of launching an “on-the-go” while “nobody is commuting.”

Quibi founders Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg are marketing the app as a service that provides “quick bites” and “big stories” to subscribers, but because people aren’t leaving the house amid the coronavirus pandemic, some view its mobile-only feature as a “deal-breaker.”

A review from The Verge’s Chris Welch pointed out, “There’s no TV app, which has already stood out as a clear deal-breaker for some people I’ve talked to — especially right now when everyone is at home for so much of the day.”

“Quibi’s entire selling point is that it’s perfect for on-the-go viewing… But the app is launching at a time when millions of people are isolating at home and trying to escape from the stressful news crunch whenever possible. I can’t speak for you, but my instinct is always to go for the biggest screen at my disposal to take a break from the world,” he continued.

Quartz labeled the service as “Netflix, but shorter. TikTok, but with more celebrities,” since every video on the app is under ten minutes and incredibly star-studded, but also noted that, “Because of the coronavirus pandemic… nobody is commuting right now.”

Quibi Chief Technology Officer Rob Post addressed this concern in a briefing last week: “I kind of find that with my work day now, I’m looking to take small breaks more than ever before.”

“I think our use case is these in-between moments, whether you’re on-the-go or not. I think now more than ever, our use case is consistent,” Post continued.

An Engadget review claimed, however, that the content just isn’t good enough to compete with the streaming powerhouses.

“And after spending a few days with the app, which launches today, I can’t say I’m impressed,” said Engadget’s Devindra Hardawar. “Sure, Katzenberg and crew managed to bring some professional-looking “quick bites” of entertainment to phones, but the shows I’ve seen aren’t nearly as compelling as anything on Netflix or Hulu.”

NBC’s Dylan Byers agreed, stating, “I didn’t see enough unique or innovative programming to convince me that a critical mass of people would spend $4.99 a month (or $7.99 without ads) to sign up for the service.”

“This programming isn’t fundamentally different from what’s readily available elsewhere, in my opinion. It’s just shorter and broken up into smaller segments,” he added.

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