Jeffrey Katzenberg’s streaming service Quibi books $100M in ad sales ahead of launch

Quibi, the short-form video platform founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, hasn’t even launched but has already booked $100 million in advertising sales, according to a report from The WSJ this morning. The company, which aims to cater to younger viewers with premium content chopped up into “quick bites,” says it has already booked advertisers including Protector & Gamble, Pepsi Co., Anheuser-Busch InBev, Walmart, Progressive, and Google.

It still has around $50 million in unsold ad inventory ahead of launch.

It’s hard to imagine how a service like Quibi will compete in a market dominated by paid streamers like Netflix and free services like YouTube — both preferred by a younger demographic. But Quibi has been raising massive amounts of money to take them on. In May, it was reported that Quibi was going after another billion in funding, on top of the billion it had already raised.

Beyond the industry’s big bet on Katzenberg himself, Quibi has booked big-name talent including Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro, and is filming a show about Snapchat’s founding which may draw in millennial viewers.

But it sounds like Quibi may also be relying on gimmicks — like Spielberg’s horror series that you can only watch at night time (when it’s dark outside). Not to mention the very idea that Quibi thinks it’s invented a new kind of media that falls in between today’s short-form and traditional TV-length or movie-length content found elsewhere.

On Quibi, shows are meant to be watched on the go, through segments that are around 7 to 10 minutes long. Some of the content will be bigger, more premium productions, while others will be more akin to what you’d find on cable TV or lower-cost daily news programming.

The service will launch April 6, 2020 with two tiers: a $4.99 per month plan that includes a pre-roll ad before each video segment. The ad is 10 seconds if the video is under 5 minutes, and it’s 15 seconds for any videos between 5 and 10 minutes. Some ad themselves will tell “brand stories” throughout the program breaks.

A $7.99 per month tier offers an ad-free experience. The company expects 75% of viewers will opt for the ad-supported version, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman told The WSJ.

Interesting