Quibi is an innovative, mobile-only streaming video entertainment service with a little something for everyone

Yet another streaming service is upon us, but Quibi is nothing like another Netflix clone. A mashup of “quick bites,” Quibi is the brainchild of former head of Disney and Dreamworks Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has raised $1.75 billion to launch some 8,500 epiosdes across 175 new shows in the first year of the service (there are almost 50 shows at launch). The twist is that the content is meant to be viewed only on phones and tablets, and only in small bites of 10 minutes or less.

Quibi is offering a very long free trial of its ad-supported version—90 days—after which you can elect to sign up for a subscription: $4.99 per month with ads, or $7.99 per month for an ad-free experience. But you’ll need to sign up for the trial before the end of April. Apps are available for Android and iOS devices. T-Mobile customers can get one year of service for free. No word if there will be a discount offered for annual subscriptions, but we do know that each account will be limited to a single simultaneous stream.

One of Quibi’s flagship scripted shows is Most Dangerous Game, starring Liam Hemsworth, Christoph Waltz, and Sarah Gadon. It will run 15 episodes of 10 minutes or less, which is in total about the total length of a feature film, except that each episode is individually crafted with its own little cliffhanger at the end, to keep viewers hooked.

dangerous game portrait Michael Brown / IDG

In portrait mode, this scene from the Quibi film Most Dangerous Game frames Christopher Waltz’s face.

It’s essentially like a 21st-century version of the old Saturday afternoon movie serials, with “cliffhangers” that had kids coming back week after week to find out how the hero survived that explosion in the lab or that fall down a mine shaft.

But Quibi’s most unique and most interesting feature is that it makes use of a handheld device’s rotating screen, allowing viewers to watch their shows in either landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation. Each show is framed and edited both ways, and viewers can even flip back and forth during a show.

The landscape view of Most Dangerous Game is more cinematic, making use of the wide, 1.85:1 aspect ratio and negative space to set up visual conflicts between characters, or between characters and their environments. But portrait view is also useful in that it acts more like close-ups; it’s much easier to see the actors’ faces and read their emotions. On this show, the portrait views seem to consist simply of cropped landscape views—much the same way that VHS tapes use to crop or pan-and-scan widescreen movies for old-fashioned TVs—but in other cases, alternate angles are used.

Most Dangerous Game Michael Brown / IDG

In landscape mode, you can see some of Waltz’s character’s office in the frame. (It’s worth noting here that the app does not allow you to take screenshots.)

In another of Quibi’s scripted shows, the teen murder mystery When the Streetlights Go On, the portrait shots include full-length shots of characters’ bodies, from head-to-toe, whereas the landscape version frames them from the waist up. In many cases, viewers might want to binge the shows twice through, just to get a look at all the alternate shots and framing.

The company provided reviewers with advanced looks at a handful of episodes from 24 of the shows that will be available on the service’s April 6 launch date, including four scripted shows and 20 non-fiction/reality shows before the beta version of the app was available, so I’ll review the app and the service in general later this week. You can see two photos here that my editor shot of the beta version of the app, which was made available late last week.

Source Article