Quibi signs distribution deal with T-Mobile, limiting their reach
posted Saturday Oct 19, 2019 by Scott Ertz
As more video streaming services enter the market, each one is looking for a way to differentiate themselves. Disney+ is focusing on the big Disney franchises. Apple TV+ is focusing on high profile original content with a large production budget. Quibi, short for "quick bites," has decided to focus on short-form episodic content. It's a strong pitch in a market filled with traditional length content on all of the services.
The next step for the new services is to determine how to expand their initial reach. Disney has been running a promo with Hulu, combining the services into one subscription. Apple announced that TV+ would be made available for free to new iPhone owners. Quibi, on the other hand, has made a strange move in significantly limiting their initial reach.
This week, the company headed by former HP CEO Meg Whitman, announced a partnership with T-Mobile, making them the exclusive wireless partner for the service at its April 2020 launch. This move means that the #3 carrier will be the only way to subscribe to the service. T-Mobile might see a small bump in business because of it, but nothing that's going to be earth-shattering. Quibi, on the other hand, stands to lose a lot. T-Mobile's current subscriber base represents less than 18% of US wireless subscribers. Sure, that's going to so up significantly if the Sprint merger completes, but it will still be the #3 carrier, even with Sprint.
The company may have a plan on how to make this work, but it seems like a strange and short-sighted move. It also seems like a strong way to damage your brand image. For example, say you subscribe to the service on your Xbox One. But, you know that you're paying the same amount as another subscriber who also gets the ability to use the service on their phone, but you can't because you're a Verizon customer. Other services have suffered from these exclusivity deals in the past, and Quibi might suffer a similar fate. However, we will have to wait until April to find out.