NBC News today announced an exclusive partnership with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming mobile streaming service, Quibi, which will see the media company becoming the first major producer for the service’s “Daily Essentials” news programming, aimed at millennial viewers. As part of the deal, NBC will produce both a 6-minute morning and evening news show for the service. The programming will air 7 days a week and will feature dedicated news hosts as well as original news content.
This is not the first time NBC News has targeted millennial viewers in particular. The company also runs a Snapchat news show called Stay Tuned that reaches millions, and it just launched its own digital streaming news network, NBC News Now, which is delivered through its NBC app.
NBC News Now will also power the breaking news coverage for Quibi, says NBC.
However, the deal is not just about repurposing NBC’s existing news content for a new platform. Instead, NBC will build out a full production team exclusively for the Quibi programming, while also providing access to NBC News resources and technical support.
In addition, the Quibi news show will be filmed in a custom-built studio in 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, and will be staffed by morning and evening news hosts and dedicated correspondents.
“NBC News’ worldwide reach brings in millions of viewers across its many platforms, and we are excited to work with them to deliver an innovative new way for millennials to get news in a format that fits into their lives,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi Founder and Chairman of the Board, in a statement. “NBC News’ powerful original reporting for Quibi will take viewers around the world in six minutes and provide them with the important stories they care about at the start and end of each day.”
Quibi had earlier discussed some of its ideas about programming, including its concept for short-form news and sports.
The mobile-only streaming service is due to launch in April 2020, and has recently issued a steady stream of content announcements as more deals fall into place.
Some of the highlights include commitments from filmmakers Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and Antoine Fuqua and producer Jason Blum to create series for the service, plus a show called “Inspired By” with Justin Timberlake and “Under the Gun” with Kobe Bryant.
There will also be a show about Snapchat’s founding, an action-thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, a murder mystery comedy from SNL’s Lorne Michaels, a documentary series from Tyra Banks, a Steven Spielberg horror show, a comedy from Thomas Lennon, and more.
Quibi’s idea is to produce higher-quality programming than what you’d find from the creator community YouTube, but distribute in a way that resonates with a younger audience — that is, shorter segments optimized for mobile viewing. These “quick bites” of content are also how Quibi got its odd name.
It’s at the very least a unique idea in a market now teeming with subscription video services, with launches from WarnerBros (HBO+), Apple, and Disney still on the way.
That said, most subscription video today is still watched on the television’s big screen, not on mobile devices. Quibi’s emphasis on being an “on-the-go” app may not quite work in the end, given the competition for users’ time and attention from social apps and games that are often our go-to time-fillers these days when we have a few minutes to spare. Even if Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok aren’t direct Quibi rivals because of their vast differences in content and business models, they still eat up a ton of people’s downtime — while commuting, waiting in line, or taking a break from work, for example.
Quibi believes that younger people will launch its app instead in order to catch up with favorite shows. That’s a challenge that will require more than just good content — and it remains to be seen how Quibi will address this.
But with $2 billion in funding, $100 million in pre-launch ad revenue commitments, and Katzenberg at the helm, it’s too soon to count Quibi out yet.
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