How Quibi CEO Meg Whitman Plans to Bring ‘Watercooler’ Shows to Mobile Video

“What I’m doing here reminds me of eBay in its earliest days. The consumer tech has changed a ton, but the fundamentals are the same around user experience and user interface,” Whitman tells TheWrap

Meg Whitman has reinvented herself time and again throughout a storied career that has spanned tech, entertainment and politics. Now, as chief executive officer of Quibi — the brainchild of Hollywood hitmaker Jeffrey Katzenberg — she seeks to reinvent how a generation watches short-form mobile video.

Quibi, short for “quick bites,” is set to launch in April 2020 and already has greenlit about two dozen shows from a who’s who of stars, including Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Tyra Banks, Don Cheadle, Stephen Curry, Anna Kendrick, Idris Elba, Lorne Michaels and Seth Meyers, among others.

TheWrap recently spoke with Whitman at length about Quibi’s content strategy and why she believes the company is poised to avoid mobile-first video blunders of the past. She also reflects on how her career trajectory, which has taken her from stints at Procter & Gamble and Disney to the helms of eBay and HP, have led her to the buzz-worthy start-up that already has raised $1 billion from big-name investors like Disney, Viacom and NBCUniversal.

Quibi plans to offer an ad-supported subscription for $4.99 a month and an ad-free version for $7.99 a month. Last month at Cannes, Katzenberg and Whitman announced Quibi had already sold…

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Sean Burch

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Tech reporter • sean.burch@thewrap.com • @seanb44