Video gained’t begin rolling on Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new bite-sized streaming service with the billion-dollar backing till the tip of 2019, however expertise retains signing as much as come alongside for his or her journey into the way forward for serialization.
The newest marquee director to signal on the dotted line with Quibi is Catherine Hardwicke, who can be helming a narrative across the creation of a synthetic intelligence with the working title “How They Made Her,” in accordance with an announcement from Katzenberg onstage on the Variety Innovate summit.

Hardwicke, who directed “Thirteen,” “Lords of Dogtown” and, most famously, “Twilight,” is becoming a member of Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi and Lena Waithe in an try to reply the query of whether or not Whitman and Katzenberg’s gamble on premium (as much as $6 million per episode) short-form storytelling is a quixotic quest or a quintessential viewing expertise for a brand new technology of media customers.
Katzenberg additionally revealed in a LinkedIn submit that Quibi can be engaged on a basketball-related collection with Steph Curry’s manufacturing firm. He wrote:
I introduced a brand new docu-series by Whistle known as “Benedict Men” coming completely to Quibi. “Benedict Men” can be government produced by Stephen Curry’s Unanimous Media and can give viewers an inside have a look at one of the crucial distinctive highschool basketball groups in America at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey.
St. Benedict’s Prep is an all-boys secondary faculty based on the core perception ‘What Hurts My Brother Hurts Me,’ and goals to foster a legacy of robust character, group, management, and religion. As one of many prime athletic excessive faculties with a storied basketball program and the very best commencement charge in New Jersey, the collection will comply with the brotherhood of younger males who search to stability life in sophisticated environment.
In some methods, the massive journey backed by Katzenberg, the previous chairman of Walt Disney Studios and founding father of WndrCo, and each main Hollywood studio — together with Disney, 21st Century Fox, Entertainment One, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Alibaba Goldman Sachs — is the most recent in an every thing outdated is new once more chorus.
If blogs reinvented printed media, and podcasts and music streaming reinvented radio, why can’t Quibi reinvent serialized storytelling.
Again and once more, Whitman and Katzenberg returned to an analogy from the early days of the cable revolution. “We’re not short form, we’re Quibi,” mentioned Whitman, echoing the tagline that HBO made well-known in its early promoting blitzes. That Whitman and Katzenberg’s undertaking to take what HBO did for premium tv and apply that to cellular media is bold. Now industry-watchers must wait till 2019 on the earliest to see if it’s additionally profitable.

In the interview onstage at a Variety occasion on synthetic intelligence in media, Katzenberg cited Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” as one thing of an inspiration — noting that the e-book had greater than 100 chapters for its 500 pages of textual content. But Katzenberg might have gone again even additional to the times of Dickens and his serialized entertainments.
And proper now for the leisure enterprise it truly is the perfect of occasions and the worst of occasions. Traditional Hollywood studios are seeing new gamers like Netflix, Amazon, Apple and others all making an attempt to drink their milkshake. And, for probably the most half, these studios and their new telecom homeowners are woefully ill-equipped to combat these large expertise platforms at their very own recreation. 
Taking the lengthy view of leisure historical past, Katzenberg is hoping to win networks with not only a new pores and skin for the outdated ceremony of watching leisure however with a throwback to outdated fashion deal-making. The time period serialization right here takes on higher which means. 
Quibi is providing its manufacturing companions a sweetheart deal. After seven years the manufacturing firm behind the Quibi reveals will personal their mental property, and after two years these producers will have the ability to repackage the Quibi content material again into long-form collection and pitch them for distribution to different platforms. Not solely that, however Quibi is fronting the cash for over 100 % of the manufacturing.
Katzenberg mentioned that it “will create the most powerful syndicated marketplace” Hollywood has seen in a long time. It’s a kind of anti-Netflix mannequin the place Katzenberg and Whitman view Quibi as a platform the place creators and expertise will need to come. “We are betting on the success of the platform — and by the way, it worked brilliantly in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s.” Katzenberg mentioned. “Hundreds of TV shows were tremendous successes and [like the networks then] we don’t want to compete with our suppliers.”
In addition to the enterprise mannequin improvements (or throwbacks, relying on how one appears to be like at it), Quibi is being constructed from the bottom up with a expertise stack that may leverage new applied sciences like 5G broadband, and large information and analytics, in accordance with Whitman.
Indeed, launching the primary platform constructed with out an current secure of content material implies that Quibi is getting ready 5,000 distinctive items of content material to go up when it pulls the curtains again on its service in late 2019 or early 2020, Whitman mentioned.
And the corporate is seeking to large telecommunications corporations like Verizon (my company overlord’s company overlord) and AT&T as companions to assist it get to market. Since these networks want one thing to do with all of the 5G capability they’re constructing out, high-quality streaming content material that’s replete with meta-tags to watch and handle how an viewers is spending their time is a compelling proposition.
“We want to work to have video that looks good on mobile [and] ramp up content in terms of quantity and quality,” Whitman mentioned. That high quality extends to issues just like the consumer interface, search options and analytics.
“We have to have a different search and find metaphor,” Whitman mentioned. “It takes eight minutes to find what you’re looking for on Netflix… We will be able to instrument this with data on what people are watching and using that in our recommendation engine.”
Questions stay concerning the service’s viability. Like what function will the telcos truly play in distribution and growth? Can Quibi keep away from the Hulu downside the place the assorted buyers are capable of overcome their very own entrenched pursuits to work for the viability of the platform? And do customers even desire a premium expertise on cellular given the brand new sorts of stars which are made by means of the immediacy and accessibility that expertise platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Snap supply?
“Where the fish are today is a phenomenal environment,” Katzenberg mentioned of the present short-form content material market. “But it is an ocean. We need to find a place where there are these premium services.”

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