Thursday 9 January 2020 3:45 pm

Netflix rival Quibi to launch short video platform in April

A new streaming service hoping to shake up the crowded on-demand market with its bite-size videos has announced that it will launch in the US in April.

Quibi, which has raised an eye-watering $1bn (£766m), has assembled some of the biggest names in Hollywood to produce original shows that are 10 minutes or shorter.

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The platform will launch in the US on 6 April. The ad-funded version will cost $4.99 (£3.80) per month, while an ad-free option is available for $7.99.

Quibi – which stands for quick bites – was founded by former Disney chairman and Hollywood veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg, and is led by Meg Whitman, former head of Ebay and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The pair unveiled a string of details about the made-for-mobile service during the CES tech conference in Las Vegas yesterday.

Among the big names commissioned to create new content were directors Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and Steven Soderbergh, as well as actors Bill Murray, Anna Kendrick and Idris Elba.

The platform also plans to screen special news bulletins from organisations including NBC and the BBC.

At the heart of Quibi’s announcement yesterday was Turnstile, a unique feature that will maintain full-screen viewing regardless of whether the phone is held in landscape or portrait mode.

The technology will allow filmmakers to create video in both formats, which flips when the phone is rotated, or even to reveal different viewpoints in different orientation.

Quibi has caused quite a stir among some in Hollywood, with sceptics wary of Katzenberg’s and Whitman’s attempt to play up to millennial preferences.

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Last month Scorsese implored viewers not to watch his smash Netflix hit The Irishman on a phone, arguing that his work was made for TV or the big screen.

Nevertheless, Quibi’s concept has built up its $1bn war chest with support from a string of traditional media giants Fox, Disney and Viacom.