Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ all outrank the new streaming service in free downloads
Roughly a week after its much-hyped debut, mobile streaming app Quibi dropped out of the top 50 downloaded free apps on the Apple App Store.
At the time of its April 6 launch, Quibi peaked at third in downloads but only for a brief instant — it soon slipped out of the top 50. The app currently ranks 59, up slightly from 70 earlier on Friday, which was first reported by The Information. The iPhone app store ranks the top 200 free and paid applications by global downloads daily.
The streaming service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and led by Chief Executive Meg Whitman pitched itself as a unique, mobile-only home for short-form “quick bites” of content that are under 10 minutes long. The app also touts its ability able to seamlessly shift between horizontal and vertical phone views, thanks to a proprietary technology Whitman calls “Turnstyle.”
Whitman said the app hit 1.75 million downloads in its first week, but the company is offering a free 90-day trial to all users, which means it doesn’t start cashing in on their signups until July, at the earliest.
“To date, we estimate Quibi has been installed by approximately 1.8 million unique Apple and Google accounts in the U.S. and Canada,” analysis firm SensorTower told TheWrap Friday. “The app is currently adding an average of approximately 100,000 new users per day.”
SensorTower reported Quibi ranked 84th among free iPhone apps in the United States (including games), down from a peak of third. SensorTower also said the app is performing slightly better in the Android marketplace: “On Google Play, it had reached as high as (number) 5 overall among all free apps and now ranked at (number) 16.”
An ad-supported version of Quibi costs $4.99 after the free trial ends; ad-free costs $7.99. Quibi has raised $1.75 billion to date from investors which include Disney and WarnerMedia. Katzenberg told TheWrap in January the app will house 175 shows and 35 movies in its first year and aims to publish at least three hours of original content each day.
Quibi did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its rankings but told TheWrap on April 13, “We are really excited about the market reception during our first three days since launch… However, we are going to refrain from commenting about downloads and trials during this initial 90-day free trial period.”
The Quibi spokesperson said at that time that Quibi was satisfied with its rankings in “both the Google Play Store and App Store.”
While the app store charts aren’t the sole indicator of an app’s success, it is notable that Quibi is now outranked by all of its major competition in the streaming industry, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and the Roku app, which basically only works as a backup television remote.
Quibi is also outranked by other digital video apps like YouTube (ranked 11th), TikTok (ranked second) Amazon-owned Twitch (ranked 41st) and Snapchat (17th in line), which is increasingly offering short-form vertical shows in addition to its flagship social messaging platform. Right now, Quibi is fighting for relevance among a more random crowd of apps than its streaming competitors, like the Chick-Fil-A and Walmart apps and a handful of free photo editors. Earlier in the day, an ASMR slicing app and women’s fashion retailer topped Quibi on the charts.
Almost immediately after releasing a beta version of the app, viewers complained they were unable to swap between their phones and televisions while viewing. “It’s a huge barrier if you can’t watch it on your desktop or your TV. And you can’t, it’s literally restricted,” said former NBC Studios president and Bull’s Eye Entertainment Co-Founder and UCLA lecturer Tom Nunan.
Nunan added that the 10-minute episode time limit could be off-putting for viewers. “It’s really a strange business plan to me. There’s no evidence that people are dying for shorter content,” Nunan told TheWrap.
Quibi certainly heard the complaints and it’s reconsidering its exclusively mobile delivery method. The app may soon allow users stuck at home during the pandemic to cast their shows from their phones to their televisions.
“Now we have the engineers scrambling and trying to figure it out now,” Whitman told Digital Trends April 13.
While enabling shows to cast from a phone to a TV is a step off the mobile-only path for Quibi, it’s not a total retrenchment — as of now, the company has no publicized plans to develop any other apps besides its current offering.