‘King Kong jumping off the Empire State Building:’ Quibi’s $400m marketing push spans TV, in-person screenings
This article is part of the Digiday Video Briefing, which features must-reads, confessionals and key market stats. To receive the Digiday Video Briefing, please subscribe.
The streaming industry’s favorite parlor game at the moment is debating whether Quibi’s mobile video service will succeed following its April launch. Detractors cite predecessors like Verizon’s Go90, Vessel and Comcast’s Watchable as examples of short-form video services that failed to attract an audience. Supporters point to the might of Quibi’s founder and Hollywood mogul Jeffery Katzenberg — and recently they cite the size of its marketing push.
Quibi plans to spend $400 million to $500 million on marketing this year, said media executives. (This was confirmed by a Quibi company spokesperson.) Executives at media and entertainment companies that are producing shows for Quibi see that investment and all the attention as what will separate the video service from those that have come before.
“The thing that makes Quibi different is they’re doing all the things that Go90 and Watchable and Vessel and YouTube Red were afraid to do, which is spend all the fucking money,” said one media executive, referring to both Quibi’s marketing budget as well as the hundreds of millions of dollars Quibi is spending on programming in its first year.
Quibi executives have not been shy about talking up the service’s marketing push in conversations with media, entertainment and advertising executives. Katzenberg has said privately that the aim of Quibi’s marketing push is to make an impact akin to “King Kong jumping off the Empire State Building,” according to two people familiar with the matter.
Quibi’s marketing strategy centers around “big television events” supplemented with out-of-home and digital advertising, said Quibi CEO Meg Whitman on stage at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting on Feb. 10 in Palm Springs, California.
That TV-centric strategy will continue during broadcasts of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament starting next month and concluding on April 6, the day that Quibi launches. Quibi plans to have a presence during the tournament as part of its launch campaign, said the Quibi spokesperson, without clarifying what exactly this will entail.
Quibi needs to go hard with its marketing efforts in order to gin up enough interest ahead of its April launch. It faces an initial challenge of convincing people to install a new app on their phones. Then the people who install the app encounter additional friction: paying $5 a month for Quibi’s ad-supported tier or $8 a month for its ad-free option. (T-Mobile customers will receive free Quibi subscriptions paid for by the wireless carrier, Whitman said.)“They need to get a big download push,” said an ad agency executive.
As part of its overall push, Quibi has been showing off its service in person. During the Sundance Film Festival last month, Quibi held a screening for members of the entertainment industry to preview its programming — but without a showing off of the app. Attendees received phones to see how Quibi’s Turnstyle feature flips between vertical and horizontal viewing experiences.
The company is considering hosting similar demonstrations during March’s South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas, according to a second media executive. The Quibi spokesperson said the company is still determining its SXSW plans.
“Their thought is to be at these places where the industry is to get people to experience it before anyone can download the app,” said the second media executive.
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: How streaming figured into TV networks’ upfront negotiations this year
The Future of TV Briefing this week looks at how TV networks secured a greater share of upfront dollars for their streaming and digital video inventory in this year's negotiations.
Member ExclusiveCase Study: How PBS programming informs its YouTube strategy — and what it looks like when it gets there
PBS has a "deluge" of content that needs to be strategically placed across online channels. Here's a look at how PBS does it in this Digiday+ Case Study.
Why Showtime will release episodes of ‘The L Word: Generation Q’ early for streaming viewers
For its tentpole Sunday night original programming block, Showtime has already seen streaming viewership begin to exceed linear viewership.
SponsoredNew data shows contextual targeting is driving brand safety and favorability
Paul Goldbaum, Chief Technology Officer, Seedtag In a very top-level approach, return on investment is among one of the top-ranking KPIs that brands prioritize when it comes to ad campaigns. However, in an online world filled with misinformation, fake news and unsafe content, brand image and favorability also need to be a top consideration ahead […]
In a perpetual mission to compete with the Facebook-Google duopoly, UK’s Channel 4 aims for more ad dollars with customer data sharing regime
The UK's Channel 4 is betting on a sophisticated data sharing process to score ad revenue from advertisers with lots of customer data but serious privacy and security concerns.
Member ExclusiveFuture of TV Briefing: Instagram is taking a ‘mix and match’ approach to money-making tools for video makers
As a digital video platform, Instagram has not necessarily carved out a niche among video publishers and individual video creators. But that may be becoming more of a feature than a bug.