Report: Quibi Lost 92% of First-Time Users After Damaging Free Trial

Report: Quibi Lost 92% of First-Time Users After Damaging Free Trial

Bad news for Quibi: No one really cares about another streamer — like all but 8% of its audience.

How do you know? How many of you had to look up what Quibi was when you read that sentence? Apparently, the media marketing blitz early in this plagued year of 2020 was too much too deny because the Jeffrey Katzenberg-owned mobile streamer gained a ton of users initially.

Those were interested but not ready to commit because it seems they keyed into the “free trial” and all but deleted the app when the free trial was up, On April 6, the Quibi app gained about 4.5 million installs for the free 90-day trial.

Now that Independence Day has passed, Quibi was waiting to see how much of that money was staying in their coffers. According to a Sensor Tower analytics dossier (first reported by Protocol), only 8% of users — approximately 72,000 people — have decided to stick around and pay for the short-form video service.

And based on those analytics from Sensor Tower, if that 8% conversion rate holds, that would yield a paying base of 360,000 customers for Quibi from the current group of user signups. That’s it.

Why Did People Quit Quibi?

Does Quibi suck? And if so, why?
Credit: Amanda (pka @luvu2golka)

Like Amanda here says, “It sucks.” (Forget the question marks. The verdict is out.)

There could have been several reasons for this mass exodus in paid subscribers, but one thing is for certain, it’s not why Jeffrey Katzenberg said. He blamed COVID-19 in a New York Times article. In a world where Internet usage is at an all-time high because of streaming, why in the world would people forget about their phone when they are couped up inside all day?!

Downloads of the $1.8 billion short-form streaming app, meant for phones, are paltry. “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus,” Mr. Katzenberg said. “Everything.”

jeffrey katzenberg via NYT

This is a mobile app that offers content from Steven Spielberg, Idris Elba, Chrissy Teigen, Anna Kendrick, the Kardashian Klan, Sam Raimi, and LeBron James. All you have to do is sit there for five to 10 minutes and enjoy. And still, no one wanted to do that.

Everything was in the right direction for Quibi.

  • Movie mogul heading the thing
  • Raised $1.75 billion in startup capital
  • Quibi is paying $100,000 per minute of produced content
  • That money is going to some top-tier names

And yet, this thing went down faster than grandpa without his special blue pills. Is Coronavirus really that unpredictable?

Quibi Won’t Quit Itself

Quibi is here. Well, not for long.
Yeah, but for how long?
Source: Quibi

Despite all the metrics and pulling jumping ship, Katzenberg still remains a “glass-half-full” kind of guy:

I’m still quite optimistic this is gonna work. When the country opens up… we are all going to be back on the go again. The difference is, is that we are going to be waiting on line for more things than ever before… We are going to be waiting like crazy, and I hope Quibi is there to keep you entertained.”

Jeffrey katzenberg, 2020 SeriesFest

If you consider all that talent (Kardashians aside), you would think subscribers would have no problem paying $4.99 per month with ads or even $7.99 per month without them. Apparently, the paltry 8% isn’t a death knell (although the coffin is being crafted). Sensor Tower cites Disney Plus had 10 million signups following its first day of launch but only 11% converted into paid subscribers.

Of course, a Quibi talking head takes issue with Sensor Tower’s findings:

To date, over 5.6 million people have downloaded the Quibi app. Our conversion from download to trial is above mobile app benchmarks, and we are seeing excellent conversion to paid subscribers — both among our 90-day free trial sign-ups from April, as well as our 14-day free trial sign-ups from May and June.

Quibi to Protocol

Now that Quibi is on the defensive calling the Sensor Tower report in other publications, “wrong” and “completely inaccurate,” we’ll have to see if more than 8% stick around. If a dazzling start-up geckaphile blog had 360,000 subscribers, they would call it a triumph. But, when you’re that guy with those people who raised that much coin?

Well, you need more than 360,000 people looking up what the hell a Quibi is to create a return on investment. And if you ask Coronavirus (or the nameless 92% of former interested parties), Quibi may be doomed for that reason.


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I write for a living, among other things in the digital journalism and analytics universe. So I'm a little like a nerd unicorn. But no bronies. Move along.
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