Newly-launched Quibi is turning to YouTube.
The shortform video streamer has made the first episode of three shows–Liam Hemsworth-starring Most Dangerous Game, thriller The Stranger, and Anna Kendrick comedy Dummy–available on its YouTube channel, where it had previously been posting trailers and teasers for its original programming.
Quibi (which debuted April 6 and has been downloaded at least 2.7 million times) has uploaded each of the ten-minute episodes twice: once in horizontal format, and once in vertical. That’s to mimic the functionality of its signature Turnstyle feature, which lets users watching in the Quibi app flip seamlessly between horizontal and vertical views. Users watching on YouTube can’t flip, but they can choose which format to watch.
So far, it looks like more YouTube viewers prefer horizontal than vertical, but none of the series boast a staggering amount of views thus far. The horizontal version of Most Dangerous Game has 3.8K views, which the vertical has 1.2K; The Stranger has 3.5K in horizontal, 1.1K in vertical; and Dummy has 2.2K in horizontal, 1.3K in vertical.
While those view counts are slim, Quibi’s YouTube channel (70K subscribers) has actually proved pretty popular with users; it netted a not-unimpressive 57M views in February, then 88M in March, and 66M in April. The two most-viewed videos on its channel are a teaser for The Stranger (uploaded Feb. 14, with 38M views) and a trailer for Most Dangerous Game (uploaded March 24, 26M views)–though it’s very possible that that viewership was bolstered by ad-spend. Dummy is its No. 8 most-watched (April 16, 10M), so it makes sense that it’s also among the shows Quibi chose to port over.
Making episodes available on YouTube is Quibi’s second departure from what once seemed an ironclad determination to keep consumers watching on their phones rather than on TVs and computers. It follows last week’s announcement that Quibi is working on adding a screen-casting feature that’ll let users watch Quibi content (again, sans Turnstyle) on their TVs.
This decision is particularly interesting because Quibi has, in the past, thrown a little shade YouTube’s way, but now is trying to use it to grow. “What we say internally is we’d like to be the quality of HBO and offer customers the convenience of Spotify,” CEO Meg Whitman told The Los Angeles Times last August. “We’re not Facebook Watch. We’re not Snapchat. We’re not Instagram TV. We’re not YouTube. We’re Quibi, and it’s not denigrating those platforms at all…but we’re staking out a premium position relative to those.”
One other notable development hitting Quibi today: Its 90-day free trial offer has officially expired. Anyone signing up today or afterward will only have 14 days to try the service.
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