LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg spoke with CBSN LA Tuesday about the launch of his much-hyped new mobile-only streaming platform Quibi in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kaitlin Olson, Lena Waithe and Veena Sud attend a conversation with Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg at Sundance 2020 on Jan. 24, 2020, in Park City, Utah. (Getty Images)

Quibi, which went live Monday, is unique in that it only works on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. Its content is short — the running time for an episode is under 10 minutes – and designed for on-the-go viewing.

Katzenberg, who was CEO of Disney for about a decade in the 1980s and 1990s before famously co-founding DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg, emphasized that Quibi is not trying to compete with other streaming services.

“We don’t compete with any of them — whether it’s Disney Plus or Apple or Hulu, or obviously Netflix, HBO Max – they’re all competing for traditional one-hour television. Quibi has gone completely its own way. We’re doing content that’s in five or ten-minute chapters.”

Quibi currently features 50 series and 500 episodes. Katzenberg said his company – which has about 270 employees all now working remotely — decided to move forward with the planned launch date of April 6 given that with, most of the country under quarantine, people are desperate for fresh content.

“We decided to stay the course and launch today and one of the things that we’ve seen…since we’ve made that decision is that watching mobile video…is up 60 percent over last year,” Katzenberg said. “So, we may be sheltered in place, but we’re watching more video on our phone than we ever have before.”

According to Variety, Quibi saw 300,000 downloads Monday. Quibi subscriptions will be free for the first 90 days.


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