retail news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  It probably wasn't the launch week that Quibi’s founders would have hoped for.  But then again, if they really believe what they've been saying about entertainment consumption habits, there's something to be said for getting the hard part over first.

Quibi is described as "a mobile-focused video streaming service" that basically offers a wide variety of programs with episodes that never last longer than 10 minutes - it is all designed to be seen on your smartphone.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of DreamWorks Animation, is the company's chairman;  former HP CEO Meg Whitman is Quibi’s CEO. 

According to CNBC, "The service is set to cost $4.99 per month with ads or $7.99 per month for an ad-free version. But in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Katzenberg said the service will initially be free for 90 days. 

"There was discussion about delaying Quibi’s release but the company decided against it, Katzenberg explained. 'Our decision was, this is a moment in time in which people actually may really need a distraction,' he said. 'To provide a little laughter, a little entertainment, a little break from the hard things we’re dealing with, our timing actually might be in many ways an opportunity'."

The fact is, Quibi seems like the extreme distillation of Katzenberg's belief that the entertainment industry is undergoing fundamental changes, and that the system may be more willing than ever to accept the fact that content can exist on movie screens at the same time it is available for at-home consumption.  This notion has been jump-started by the pandemic, which has closed theaters and forced many companies to debut new movies online rather than on theater screens.

The disruption happening in this industry has to be acknowledged by other businesses, because it reflects what is happening, more or less, to everyone.

•  The Los Angeles Times reports that "Disney+, the streaming service from Walt Disney Co., has passed 50 million paying subscribers in its first five months, the company said Wednesday.

"The service, which costs $6.99 a month, has seen 75% growth in subscribers since early February. At that time, Disney said it had 28.6 million paying customers, mostly in the U.S."

Everybody is home.  It would've been more amazing if Disney hadn't seen that kind of growth.