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Snippet: Jeffrey Katzenberg Blames Pandemic for Quibi’s Rough Start ☇

Shared on May 12, 2020

Nicole Sterling for The New York Times:

Jeffrey Katzenberg hasn’t left his Beverly Hills home in nearly 50 days.

Deprived of a frenetic schedule that, before the coronavirus pandemic, typically meant three breakfast meetings, three lunch meetings and a working dinner, the veteran executive has filled his days with what he calls “Zoom-a-roo” videoconferences as he tries to rejigger Quibi, the streaming app he started with Meg Whitman a little more than a month ago.

Downloads have been anemic, despite a lineup that includes producers and stars like Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James, Idris Elba, Steven Spielberg and Chrissy Teigen.

I was interested in the some of the content that Quibi had promised, based on the personalities involved and the idea that it would be high-quality, short-form content. It seems cheap enough and if I can find a few things of interest, it would be worth the trouble.

Many people who downloaded Quibi had a simple question: Why can’t I watch it on TV? In response, Mr. Katzenberg and Ms. Whitman have backpedaled on their original commitment to a smartphone-only app. This week, Quibi subscribers who have iPhones will be able to watch movies-in-chapters like “Most Dangerous Game” and shows like “Chrissy’s Court” on TV screens. (Android users will have to wait a few more weeks.)

This is the reason I never even gave it a try. While I watch some video on my phone, I also have a few larger screens (iPads and TVs). I’m also in the coveted 18-34 demographic that all the media folks like, so Quibi should be perfect for me. By blocking AirPlay, not allowing HDMI out, not having a proper iPad app, and not having an Apple TV app, that feels really restrictive and has made the endeavor a non-starter for me, pandemic or not.

At this point, if you’re developing anything media-related for iOS, spend the bit of extra time and offer an iPad-capable experience and an Apple TV experience.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.