- in Technology
Short-form video streaming app Quibi has hit 1.7 million downloads in its first week, according to the company’s boss Meg Whitman.
The app, which streams clips 10 minutes or shorter, launched on 6 April.
Quibi is only available on smartphones and tablets, but the firm said it is accelerating plans to allow the app to play on TVs too.
Ms Whitman said in an interview with CNBC that she didn’t believe the launch had been hurt by coronavirus pandemic.
“It turns out people have in-between moments at home,” said Ms Whitman, who was formerly chief executive of HP and sits on the board of Dropbox. “We don’t actually think it hurt us.”
Some analysts had predicted Quibi would find it difficult to attract users because of the coronavirus lockdown. With so many people stuck at home, it was expected viewers would prefer longer videos that could be watched on larger devices.
Quibi’s “quick bite” videos had been advertised as being ideal for short breaks or commuting.
The app’s shows are 10 minutes or shorter and movies are broken into segments. Viewers are meant to watch the shows on their mobile phones, and a feature called Turnstile allows the video to stay full screen in both portrait or landscape.
But the company is planning to fast-track a program to make Quibi videos watchable on larger devices – something that will make it easier for groups to view shows together.
Quibi launched its services with a 90-day free trial, meaning none of the nearly two million users has paid for the app yet.
In the US and Canada, Quibi is offering an ad-supported version of the app for $4.99 (£3.99) and an ad-free version for $7.99.
And while the company originally said it would not enter other markets until later in the year, an ad-free version has been made available in countries including the UK and Germany.
Ms Whitman said the average Quibi viewer so far was in their early 30s.
The number of subscribers is slightly higher than the 1.5 million that analysts had predicted. But that figure is still far smaller than the 10 million signups competitor Disney+ reported receiving on its first day.
Ms Whitman and Quibi’s founder Jeffrey Katzenberg have said they want the app to compete with TV and movie streaming services like Disney Plus and Netflix and social media video platforms like YouTube and Tiktok.