Bolder Thinking Blog

Quibi pre-launch deep dive

April 2nd, 2020 | Emily Groch

Ahead of launch, Quibi forged strategic partnerships and spent heavily on awareness marketing.

Quibi on the horizon 

Quibi, a new, mobile-only, short-form video streaming app, is set to launch on Apr. 6, 2020. The service will be available in a $4.99/mo. ad-supported tier, and a $7.99/mo. ad-free tier. With plenty of industry buzz about the service over the past year, Quibi managed to sell out its entire $150M launch-year ad inventory by Oct. 2019. Advertisers clearly see the service as a valuable way to get their brands in front of the highly-coveted Millennial audience that Quibi is targeting. Advertisers will be able to reach these consumers while they’re on the go. Plus, the ads are non-skippable pre-roll video, which helps improve the likelihood that subscribers will see the full ad.

However, others remain dubious that the target audience, who has grown up consuming free mobile video, will be willing to pay for the content Quibi is serving up. Quibi is paying attention and addressing this issue head-on. The question remains: will it be enough?

Quick Bites for Mobile Generations

Getting to Know Quibi’s Target Audience

It’s obvious which age groups Quibi will be targeting with its service when we consider the streaming video consumption habits of consumers: Millennials and Gen Z. 

Mintel research on the US digital video market shows that over half of Millennials watch free videos online daily. And they have plenty of options for it, from YouTube to TikTok to Instagram, plus a rising number of free live linear services like Pluto TV and IMDb TV.

Nearly two-thirds of 18 to 24-year-olds and slightly fewer than three in five 25 to 34-year-olds watch SVOD services on their smartphones (compared to two in five of all internet users). Additionally, these consumers are most likely to consume short-form video from sites/apps such as YouTube.

However, the question remains whether they are willing to pay for mobile video with ads (or pay even more for mobile-only video without ads), and the success of Quibi will depend on the answer to this question.

Strategic Partnerships

Quibi’s leaders forged partnerships with T-Mobile USA and Bell Canada to get the service in front of mobile-video-loving consumers. If either of these partners offers Quibi free to qualifying subscribers, they will eliminate the barrier of cost, at least among their bases, that might deter many consumers.

According to Mintel research on US mobile networks, Gen Zs are most likely to consider switching their mobile plan for free video streaming. This could drive upgrades or even carrier switching for a popular free service.

Marketing Emphasis on Quality

Quibi introduced an awareness marketing blitz in February. Throughout its marketing, Quibi looked to combat the YouTube generation’s understanding that short-form video means free video. It seeks to prove, in both ad format and message, that its high-quality “quick bites” are worth paying for.

Quibi introduced itself with a comical bank-heist-themed video ad.

This 30-second spot served as a formal introduction to Quibi, explaining the concept of under-10-minute episodes, or “quick bites,” and including the Apr. 6 launch date.

Quibi’s bank heist commercial emphasized the concept of short but high-quality content in a variety of ways. The ad (along with Quibi’s subsequent commercials) featured the tagline “Quick Bites. Big Stories,” and featured Quibi within the setting of a “big story” that plays out during the commercial. With this approach, Quibi countered the idea that short-form video means low-quality or amateur content. This is Quibi’s attempt to illustrate why its flavor of short-form video is worth paying for.

What’s Next 

Partner marketing heats up, and Quibi looks to social media to drive short-form video consumption over to its platform.

Although Quibi might quibble at the idea of its direct competitors being social media video (given that it has billed its content as high-production), social platforms will absolutely be prime competitors for the attention of its target audiences. As such, we anticipate Quibi to be highly active on Snapchat, Instagram Video, Facebook Watch, and TikTok with both organic and paid content during and following launch. Quibi knows its future customers are active on these platforms, and social sharing will be key to driving buzz and interest around its content.

At launch, expect T-Mobile and Bell to notify their customers about Quibi with email blasts and SMS announcing their Quibi-related deals. If T-Mobile plans to give Quibi to customers at no cost, it will likely tie Quibi into its “T-Mobile Tuesdays” marketing on Tues., Apr. 7. While Bell Canada would really stir up the market by giving Quibi away for free to its unlimited subscribers, limited-time free Quibi trials for customers seem more realistic.

Finally, Quibi will likely announce bundles with other streaming services popular among Gen Zs and Millennials, which would help draw attention away from Quibi’s cost of entry. Perhaps Quibi would even join the Spotify/Hulu/Showtime Premium Student Bundle since students fall squarely within its target market.

Emily Groch

Emily Groch

Emily Groch is Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications, providing omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to telecom providers.