Quibi insists that it has a lot more fans than reported

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Quibi
Quibi is taking a different approach with streaming.
Photo: Quibi

According to mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower, 4.5 million people have downloaded bite-sized video subscription service Quibi since its highly publicized launch. Of these, around 8% are continuing to use the service.

However, Quibi says that this estimated number of paid subscribers is “incorrect by an order of magnitude.”

Quibi claims that 5.6 million people have, in fact, so far downloaded the app. In a statement to The Verge it continued that:

“Our conversion from download to trial is above mobile app benchmarks, and we are seeing excellent conversion to paid subscribers — both among our 90-day free trial sign-ups from April, as well as our 14-day free trial sign-ups from May and June.”

The company stopped short of giving exact subscriber numbers. The first free trials only ended July 5, meaning that this is very early days for paid customers.

Quibi launched at the wrong time

Regardless of which of these figures is correct, the launch of Quibi hasn’t exactly gone as planned. The short-form video app, which produces bite-sized episodic shows perfect for watching on your phone while you commute, launched at a time when no-one was commuting. Co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has made no bones about blaming COVID-19 for the lackluster launch.

“I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Katzenberg told the New York Times in May. Katzenberg said that the initial app downloads have not been “close to what we wanted.” However, part of the problem is also surely that there have just not been any Quibi shows that have captured people’s imaginations. Most of the time I hear people talking about Quibi online, it’s being used as a punchline. That’s not a good situation for a subscription service to be in.

Have you sampled Quibi yet? It is available as a free download from the App Store. After the 90-day trial, Quibi costs $4.99 with ads, and $7.99 without.