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Quibi is Shutting Down – Here are The Best Alternatives

Quibi, the mobile-focused streaming service that launched in April 2020, has announced it will be shutting down operations and closing up shop. The service had struggled to gain traction in a crowded streaming landscape despite over $1.5 billion in funding.

So with Quibi soon gone, what are the best alternatives for streaming short-form premium video designed for your smartphone? This comprehensive guide examines the top services to consider if you‘re looking to replicate the Quibi experience.

Why Did Quibi Fail?

Quibi was founded in 2018 by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a former Disney chairman, and Meg Whitman, previously CEO of eBay and HP. It was aimed at a mobile-first demographic, with all content delivered in episodes of 10 minutes or less.

The service streamed in either landscape or portrait mode using patented Turnstyle technology that optimized videos for both viewing orientations. It launched on April 6, 2020 with an unprecedented $1.75 billion in funding from top Hollywood studios and tech investors.

But Quibi struggled to build its subscriber base despite heavyweight financial backing and extensive press coverage. The company blamed the coronavirus pandemic for hampering growth. But the reality is Quibi faced steep challenges from the start:

  • Mobile-only viewing limited addressable market
  • Restrictive DRM hampered sharing potential
  • Minimal social features to drive engagement
  • No availability on connected TVs
  • Limited content library compared to competitors
  • Short 10 minute episodes not conducive to bingeing
  • Relatively high subscription price point

Without the ability to quickly iterate or pivot their product offering, Quibi could not find product-market fit. By October 2020, they had less than 500,000 subscribers, well below their 7 million first year target. Unable to gain scale or court a buyer, the company made the decision to begin winding down operations just months after launch.

The Crowded Streaming Marketplace

Quibi entered a streaming video landscape already dominated by major players like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. Newer services like HBO Max and Peacock further fragment the market.

Netflix continues to lead the pack with over 200 million subscribers globally. But competitors are growing fast. Disney+ already has over 100 million subscribers just one year after launch.

These services invest billions into sought-after original content and leverage extensive back catalog libraries. Quibi simply couldn‘t keep pace in terms of content spend, subscriber growth or technical feature set.

And while the broader streaming market is booming, recent data indicates short-form video alone does not define a viable niche:

  • YouTube reaches over 2 billion monthly users with its massive short video inventory, but has struggled to convert its free audience into paying subscribers.
  • Young demographic drawn to bite-sized video on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Triller etc. But time spent on these services is ad-supported, not subscription.
  • Average time spent viewing subscription streaming content is over 1 hour per session as per Nielsen data – majority long-form.

Quibi believed a mobile-only focus could support a paid subscription model, but consumers expect that broader device support and full-length programming.

Ideal Quibi Replacements

If you’re looking for streaming offerings similar to Quibi‘s core mobile-first, short-form video model, here are the top services to consider:


As the leader in free online video, YouTube is the obvious alternative for accessing short-form content designed for your smartphone. Its platform is 100% mobile-optimized and videos run the gamut from 60 second how-to‘s to 5-10 minute vlogs and commentary.

YouTube offers an unmatched volume of content across categories. Personalized recommendations keep the experience fresh. And you can subscribe to channels for regular updates. For Quibi users after snackable video, the free YouTube app is the closest match.


The viral social video app TikTok has seen explosive growth thanks to its iPhone and Android-first experience. TikTok’s core differentiator is its bite-sized 15 second to 1 minute videos tailored to vertical mobile viewing.

Its “For You” page analyzes your engagement to serve up an endless stream of short videos aligned to your tastes. From musical performances to comedy skits to lifehacks, TikTok is designed for constant on-the-go entertainment. And it‘s free – no subscriptions required. For those looking to replicate Quibi‘s approach, TikTok delivers.

Facebook Watch

Facebook‘s Watch hub offers a selection of episodic shows, news clips, and viral snippets optimized for in-feed viewing on mobile. Content comes from both professional publishers and everyday creators.

Watch‘s personalization keeps the experience fresh. Most videos range from a few minutes to 30 minutes maximally, perfect for killing time on your smartphone. And it‘s all free for the 2 billion+ people already on Facebook with no additional sign-up needed.

Snapchat Discover

Snapchat Discover offers full-screen mobile video ‘Editions‘ from top media brands. These videos average 3-5 minutes in length – similar to Quibi‘s short episodes. Content spans entertainment, comedy, news and more. It‘s all packaged for vertical viewing in the Snapchat app.

This younger demographic spends 20-30 minutes per day watching Snaps, making Snapchat Discover a solid Quibi alternative. And it comes included for free with a standard Snapchat account.

Twitch Mobile App

Game streaming platform Twitch offers much more than just gaming content. The service has expanded into short live and on-demand videos around music, food, science, travel and pop culture. Twitch‘s new mobile app makes finding these quick videos easy.

Twitch skews toward a tech-savvy millennial audience in the target Quibi demographic. While the app lacks the polished production of Quibi shows, it offers interactive live streams and community features that engage viewers.

Evaluating Subscription Streaming Services

Beyond the free, short-form mobile video platforms, most top subscription streaming services can also replicate aspects of Quibi:

Prime Video Mobile App – Amazon Prime Video offers thousands of movies, shows, and Amazon originals. While best known for long-form content, its smartphone app enables downloading short episodes for on-the-go viewing similar to Quibi.

Disney+ Mobile Viewing – Disney+ offers parental controls to download kid-friendly episodes for offline viewing. The Marvel/Star Wars focused library suits the young target demo.

HBO Max Mobile – AT&T promoted HBO Max for its 5G network optimization. Enables short-form news and talk content alongside premium originals.

Netflix Mobile Playback – Netflix pioneered download-and-go video with its smartphone apps. A broad catalog can satisfy short-form viewing.

When assessing paid subscription services, look for those emphasizing mobile optimizations, downloads for offline access, and flexibility in episode length or format.

Additional Quibi Alternatives and Considerations

Beyond the major streaming players, here are some additional services that can supplement short-form mobile viewing:

The Roku Channel – Roku‘s free Roku Channel offers quick newscasts, cartoon clips, movie trailers and viral videos. Ad-supported.

Pluto TV – Pluto TV mimics a traditional TV guide with over 250 free streaming linear channels of TV shows, movies, news, animation and more. No sign-up required.

Xumo TV – Another free streaming TV service owned by Comcast with 170+ digital channels viewable on mobile phones.

Vudu – Walmart‘s free ad-supported Vudu service offers thousands of on-demand movie/TV selections viewable mobile.

Tubi – Tubi TV is an ad-supported on-demand video platform with thousands of movies viewable on smartphones.

Rave – Rave offers free mobile-optimized streams of music concerts and music docs successor to Quibi‘s defunct “Rave” platform.

Apple Arcade – For short gaming sessions, Apple Arcade offers 100+ titles for $4.99/month playable across iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

NewsON – Free app for watching local news clips from 90+ TV stations. Owned by major broadcasting groups.

Newsy – Free app streaming 2-3 minute short-form news videos from across the web. Owned by E.W. Scripps Company.

NewsBreak – Free personalized news app with locally relevant short articles, news clips and live video.

When assessing alternatives, determine your priorities around price, availability on iOS/Android, video format, length and quality, discoverability, and overall experience across devices. Test different apps to see which align best with your needs as a mobile-first streamer.

The Future of Mobile Streaming

While Quibi couldn‘t make its mobile-centric vision work, the broader industry trends point to streaming‘s future revolving around our smartphones:

  • 5G and WiFi 6 enable high-quality streaming anywhere
  • Video accounts for over 60% of mobile internet traffic
  • 78% of smartphone owners stream video on their device per Nielsen
  • Young millennials/Gen Zers average 100+ minutes per day streaming on mobile
  • Advances in analytics and personalization boost relevancy of short videos
  • Direct-to-consumer models give creators freedom to make mobile-first content

These factors will lead both major players and upstart competitors to focus efforts on the mobile streaming opportunity over the coming years.

While we‘re still in the early days, expect to see further fragmentation with many different apps vying for your attention. Aggregator platforms may eventually emerge to consolidate all these experiences into a unified interface.

For now, individual services like YouTube, TikTok, Twitch and Disney+ lead the way in mobile-centric short streaming. But a myriad of alternatives exist at different price points to give consumers choice in how they access and consume mobile video.

Quibi may have failed, but the broader opportunity remains wide open.


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