Quibi, a new star-packed mobile streaming service for short-form video, has put the initial episodes of three series outside its app for the first time, posting them on YouTube for anyone to watch. (Links to watch are below.) By posting them free to watch anywhere, is aiming to stir up interest in its service on the final day that people can sign up for a 90-day free trial. Starting Friday, anyone who signs up for Quibi will get two weeks free instead.
Quibi posted on YouTube the nearly eight-minute pilot episode for Most Dangerous Game, a thriller based on the classic short story, which Quibi said last week is its most-watched series so far. It also posted the nine-minute pilot The Stranger, a thriller about a sociopathic ride-share customer, and the nine-minute pilot for Dummy, an unconventional buddy comedy pairing a TV writer with her boyfriend’s sex doll.
Because Quibi is a mobile-focused service, all its series are shot and edited for both landscape and portrait viewing. On YouTube, you can watch Most Dangerous Game in either horizontal or vertical, at those links, but you can’t switch between the two orientations dynamically like you can in the Quibi app. The first episode of The Stranger is accessible at the following links in horizontal and vertical, and you can watch Dummy in horizontal and vertical modes at those links.
By posting the full episodes on YouTube, Quibi is also giving viewers the first chance to see what it’s like to watch its big-budget programming on televisions — YouTube has apps to watch on TVs across a wide variety of devices. Quibi’s bet on mobile video meant that it launched without any support for streaming to larger screens like TVs, but almost immediately some users complained about being blocked from watching on the biggest screen in the house. (Last week, Quibi said some users will get the ability to cast the service from mobile phones to their TVs starting in May.)
Encouraging people to sign up on the last day of an extended trial may seem like a money-losing strategy, but other streaming services consistently report that the longer a person uses a subscription service, the less likely they are to quit it. Thursday’s free episodes are a move to get more people to download and sign up while they can still qualify for a promotion that may make them members who stick with the service in the long run.
But the promotion also comes a day after a report cast a pall over privacy at Quibi. A researcher reported Wednesday thatthat improperly shared email addresses with third-party advertising and tracking firms. Quibi and others shared the email address with companies including Google, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. Quibi said it fixed the problem immediately after it was notified about the issue, adding that “data protection is essential to Quibi and the security of user information is of the highest priority.”
An unconventional streaming-video service, Quibi ramping up in the midst of a wave of streaming services, as both tech and media giants rush to define the future of video. Unlike industry leader Netflix, or HBO Max, Quibi’s programming is released in 10-minute-or-less episodes that you can watch only on or mobile devices.
Quibi costs $5 a month with ads and $8 a month ad-free. Last week, the company said Quibi’s app has been downloaded 2.7 million times since launch on April 6.