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Why Apple should buy Quibi

Arash Pendari
Apr 17 · 6 min read

This weekend I strangely found myself trying to come up with excuses to go to the bathroom. Not because I’m having medical issues, but because I got stuck on some of the great shows on Quibi, The Stranger, The most dangerous game, Punk’d and Flipped. With the current corona situation, I’m not commuting anywhere, so the only place in my two-room apartment where I consume content on my mobile is when I’m in the bathroom. So after spending an undisclosed amount of time in the Quibi app I wanted to share some insights and thoughts around the newly launched app:

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Mobile first — good start but where do you go from here?

Quibi has a great UI, but some improvements could be made with regards to how they are presenting their content. Even if it’s all short-form the viewers usually need a bit more information before deciding to start a stream, so small previews without sound could help. Another great feature is the UI-function in the video player where you flip the phone and it automatically adapts, that is amazing! Even though the feature is not super useful, it’s a feature that I appreciate and it creates trust to the brand around the fact that they care about their content. They have released great shows with great productions, with an incredible high quality, and this got me thinking even further…

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Initially, lots of people from the industry, both users and experts, started to complain about Quibi and the features the service was missing such as casting the video to a big screen TV (something they now released is on the roadmap). But after closely reviewing the service I can say that I see a lot of potential. Very few streaming services out there had a perfect launch with the perfect amount of content. Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+ even Youtube all had to start with few titles and features missing, bugs, sign up issues or server issues. But with time they all matured.

Quibi is filling a really important gap in the world of streaming with its focus on the mobile device and high quality content. This makes Quibi a strong competitor to Youtube, TikTok and similar services. Because it’s gotten to the point where youtube and TikTok now have sooo much content, that bad content can now disguise it self as good content with nice thumbnails and click bait-titles, making us start a clip and then half way through realize how low-quality the content actually is. So Quibi has the opportunity to provide me with a channel-like experience similar to TikTok and Youtube, filled with content that I can trust is of high quality.

The best of two worlds, “UGC” and high-quality production

Quibi’s quality of content gives them a competitive edge, but the size of the library and the rate of which they can release new shows to keep users engaged will be a challenge. At the same time, the power of YouTube and TikTok lies in the scalability of having User-Generated Content(UGC) where they don’t have to produce everything themselves. Quibi could adopt the same model with some caveats; keep content-quality high, create a platform where creators can host their shows/series at Quibi by applying and being approved by the great and experienced content team from Quibi. Creating a kind of “controlled UGC-platform” where I can trust that the content being put in front of me will have a great quality. Because I know that many people are tired of browsing the endless pit of youtube or TikTok content and then suddenly asking yourself, why did I just spend 4 hours watching people jump-scaring cats?!

Quibi + Apple?

With this type of focus on quality for the content and such a clear mobile device-focus there is only one outcome for the service: Apple will buy Quibi for couple of billion dollars sooner or later. Why? Well if you look at the Quibi productions they are perfect for a company like Apple that have such a device-focused streaming service like Apple TV+ where the Quibi content is already perfect for the iPads and iPhones, and with the seamless billing integrations and bundling with Apple devices, its a perfect match. And we all know that Apple will pay big dollars to keep you in the Apple-universe, so the main KPI going forward will not be the amount of Quibi app-downloads, but how much time users are spending inside of the app. One question in this proposed marriage that would need to be answered is how Apple would view the AVOD-package launched by Quibi, we all know Apple isn’t a fan of exposing advertisement to their users as it disrupts the user experience (although there is a lot of room for improvement in harmonizing the emotional profile of advertisement to make the AVOD experience more enjoyable, but more of that in another post)

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The Quibi-content fits perfectly in the Apple TV+ service (photoshopped)

But there is one thing that both Apple and Quibi needs to think about if they are to become a successful player in this market. Even if both players produce high-quality content it does not mean that all their content is perfect, some of their content might not be intriguing enough to engage viewers over a longer period of time. The upper hand both of this players have over Youtube is that their content is emotionally loaded, what i mean with that is that the content is designed with colors, camera angels, cuts, sound, music to affect us emotionally. While a youtube clip is not as well designed to do that, hanging with Pewdipie is like hanging with a friend and that is very different from a production with a cinematic feel to it.

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The youtube autoplay is on the right-side, it shifts from keeping you in the same subject-bubble and other subjects you showed interest to. So you can go from cooking to gaming esports.

So if Apple and Quibi starts understanding and combining the analysis of the emotional structure of their content library with tracking usage data to see what we choose, when we choose it, when we stopped watching a show, what type of shows that drives us back to the service, they would be able to set a strong foundation for both how to produce better content and how to create a really good discovery experience. Discovery is not only important for a better user experience, it’s also a tool for understanding your audience and viewers better by presenting them with different options and seeing what choices they make, to ultimately understand why they made those choices. The recommendations on Youtube works in a similar way by presenting content through an autoplay-function, then analyze how you change your path to present you with better recommendations in the future. Quibi have an opportunity to not only use these insights to create a really engaging user experience, but also to ultimately understand what type of content they need on the platform today, and in the future. Creating a user experience where the viewers are presented with choices is a great way of understanding your users. Especially if your content is emotional, the users will, by choosing different paths, let you know if they want stressful content in the evening or late at night. Or if they want colorful and joyful content during the morning or the evening. This data is incredibly valuable and crucial for Quibi and Apple if they are to keep the competitive edge, that I argue they have, and can get more of.

Originally published at

Vionlabs Tech Blog

Learn more about the technology behind successful streaming services.

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