Release the Influencers! Quibi’s Plan for Streaming Success

Release the Influencers! Quibi’s Plan for Streaming Success

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, the founders of Quibi, a short-form video app scheduled for an April 6 debut, are trying to create a platform for the smartphone age. To entice subscribers, they have ordered big-budget shows from known quantities like Kevin Hart and Steven Spielberg — but they have turned to social media stars for the kind of casual, low-commitment programming that could make Quibi a daily habit.

Shan Boodram, a 34-year-old sex educator with 506,000 YouTube subscribers and 260,000 Instagram followers, will host “Sexology With Shan” five days a week. Another social media influencer who has signed a deal with Quibi, Rachel Hollis, has 1.6 million Instagram followers and will be the host of “The Rachel Hollis Show,” a daily show of bite-size bits of motivation for young mothers.

Mr. Katzenberg likened Ms. Boodram and Ms. Hollis to the talk show hosts who made their names in an earlier media age.

“When we find someone, we have a connection with, we tend to be loyal,” he said in an interview. “Ellen. Oprah. Dr. Ruth. We hope that’s what Shan is going to do, what Rachel is going to do.”

Mr. Katzenberg, a onetime chairman of Walt Disney Studios, and Ms. Whitman, a former head of eBay and Hewlett-Packard, will be competing to some extent against Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. They predict that most of their audience, however, will tune in during the daytime hours, when YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitch are most active.

Quibi has handed some of the $1 billion it raised to other online influencers, including Willam Belli, who will be the host of a fashion show called “Fashion’s a Drag.” Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings will create a version of their popular podcast, “The Nod,” for the platform. And the figure skater Adam Rippon will host “This Day in Useless Celebrity History.” ….[Read More]

 

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