Wednesday night, April 22nd, USC School of Cinematic Arts hosted a Zoom conversation with Jeffrey Katzenberg, which I found very interesting. Katzenberg’s latest project is called Quibi, which he believes will be the primary platform for the newest form of storytelling. Episodes of Quibi shows are between five and ten minutes but have the quality of movies or television shows and therefore are an innovative type of storytelling (according to Katzenberg). He could be right; there is an undeniable appeal to short-form content that we can fully enjoy on our phones. However, I am unsure of whether Quibi is doing enough to capitalize on the new technologies available to entertainers and as a result, lauding it as the next wave of entertainment could be misguided. We now have simple to use and view live-streaming, virtual and augmented reality, and interactive storytelling. It’s unlikely that the newest form of storytelling following in the footsteps of movies and television is simply going to be shorter stories. I can’t predict exactly what the newest game-changing storytelling medium is going to be; however, I hypothesize that at the very least, it will be interactive. Quibi claiming to be innovative despite neglecting this important feature that technology has now made so easy is why I am unsure of whether it will truly catch on.
Tik Tok similarly believes in the appeal of short-form content that we can view on our phones. Despite the fact that Quibi claims that its content is much better than that of Tik Tok, it’s still not nearly as popular. That could be because Tik Tok has the interactivity of a social media website and also allows users to create their own content. Phones are far more than simply television sets for short-form content and by neglecting so many of the things that they are capable of doing, Quibi is not really breaking any new ground. I think that Tik Tok, Youtube, and Instagram are the superior locations for short-form content because they all have plenty of high-quality content on them but also have interactivity and allow users to create their own content. If I really want the highest quality content available, I’ll just go to the Netflix, HBO Go, or Hulu apps on my phone. For these reasons, I am unsure of whether Quibi actually does something innovative or is capable of entertaining us in a new and exciting way. I don’t foresee myself continuing to subscribe once the 90-day free trial has ended.
I watched a Quibi show through completion and my opinion on the experience is below: