Quibi: How Past Short-Form Video Fumbles May Signal Tough Road Ahead

“It’s going to be tough getting people’s attention on smartphones,” Colin Dixon, the chief analyst at nScreenMedia, says

If Hollywood had a “trending tab,” Jeffery Katzenberg’s Quibi would be at the top of the list. Opinions are mixed about whether the mobile-only subscription video-on-demand service will succeed, but history tells us creating a business off the back of premium short-form content is hard.

“There have been various attempts to monetize original content that’s direct-to-mobile and short-form, and, to date, I can’t think of one that has been successful,” Guy Bisson, research director at Ampere Analysis, told TheWrap.

Over the past 10 years, companies looking to capitalize on shrinking attention spans and the rise of mobile have come and gone. Some mobile-centric platforms, such as Verizon’s VCast and Flo TV, which came out prior to 2010, hit the market at a time when watching video on smartphones was a novelty. Others, like Verizon’s go90, weren’t able to attract enough consumers to grab the attention (or money) of advertisers, which inevitably led to go90’s closure in 2018 — and that was despite it being free, coming pre-installed on millions of Verizon-owned phones, and offering NBA and NFL coverage.

Vessel, another short-lived short-form video platform, was founded by former Hulu executives Jason Kilar and Richard Tom. The company launched in 2015,…

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