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Streaming service Quibi off to strong start, topping Disney+ and Netflix in downloads

A scene from the Quibi show "Fierce Queens."
(Quibi)

Quibi, the new Hollywood streaming service, had a promising launch on Monday, with a surge of downloads catapulting it to become one of the most popular entertainment apps, according to San Francisco app analytics firm App Annie.

There were more than 700,000 downloads for the Quibi app for iPhones and Android phones in the U.S. on Monday, making it the most downloaded app that day in the nation, App Annie said. The company tracked the number of downloads from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.

The start-up’s robust performance began early Monday morning and continued throughout the day. Quibi ranked second for U.S. entertainment apps for the iPhone from 3 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, App Annie said.

The No. 1 app during that time period based on the number of hourly app downloads was video sharing app TikTok. Placing below Quibi in third place was Disney+, followed by Netflix and Hulu, the analytics firm said.

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On Sunday, the top five entertainment iPhone apps were TikTok, followed by Disney+, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, App Annie said. When Quibi launched on Monday morning, Amazon wasn’t part of the top five.

“It’s a strong start for a brand-new app without an established brand or content like Disney+,” said Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights for App Annie.

Quibi did not release data on its app downloads.

At least one other research firm, Sensor Tower, which tracks app data, announced a different number of installs.

San Francisco-based Sensor Tower, citing a preliminary estimate, said Tuesday that there were more than 300,000 mobile phone users in the U.S. and Canada who installed the app on Monday.

Sensor Tower compared Quibi to HBO Now, which launched in April 7, 2015, with 45,000 installs, and to Disney+, which launched in the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 12 with 4 million installs.

“Quibi’s release figures were bolstered by a lengthy preorder period, effectively front-loading a significant number of downloads into its launch day,” wrote Randy Nelson, head of Sensor Tower’s mobile insights, in a blog post.

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Quibi, which streams programs in segments of 10 minutes or less, charges $4.99 a month for programming with ads and $7.99 without ads.

The service started on Monday with 50 shows, including movies told in chapters like the Sophie Turner thriller “Survive” and the prank show “Punk’d.”

The company has raised $1.75 billion and advertised in prominent places, including a Super Bowl ad that cost $5.6 million.

The service launched at a time when more consumers are sheltering at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus, which has caused 395 deaths in California. Quibi had been initially pitched as a streaming service for people on the go, who could watch these short entertaining videos while waiting for their coffee or riding the subway.

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Even before COVID-19’s spread, some analysts were skeptical that people would be willing to pay for short-form video when they can watch user-generated videos for free on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Other analysts, however, think Quibi could benefit from the surge in home viewing and the hunger among consumers for diversionary entertainment.

To entice more consumers to give it a try, Quibi extended its free trial to 90 days from two weeks. It also has a partnership with T-Mobile, which allows some customers to receive Quibi as part of certain plans.

Quibi said it was pleased with its launch. The company said its app ranked third in the top apps in Apple’s App Store, only behind video conference tool Zoom and TikTok. In the entertainment category, Quibi ranked second, behind TikTok, but in front of Netflix and Disney+, Quibi said.

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“We are very excited about our day one performance,” Quibi said in a statement.

In a LinkedIn post, Quibi Chief Executive Meg Whitman acknowledged that “the world is in a very different place today than it was even two weeks ago.”

“It is our hope that Quibi will provide a small moment of laughter, inspiration, or information during this unprecedented moment in our lives,” Whitman said in her post.


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