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A promo image of a phone screen, showing five stars from different Quibi shows. Image: Courtesy of Quibi

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‘What is Quibi?’ and other burning quibtions

How to get it, what to watch, and everything else you need to know for launch

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

As every media conglomeration is out to offer its own streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, a new competitor is entering the fray: Quibi. The app-based service launched in the wee hours of the morning on April 6.

The creation of DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman, Quibi is unlike most of its competitors. The service has no library of pre-existing content, its shows can only be viewed on mobile devices, and its conceit is that none of its episodes are more than 10 minutes long.

To help guide you through the brand new platform, we’ve put together a guide to all the burning questions you might have, starting with the biggest of them all.

[Ed. note: Vox Media and Polygon have partnered with Quibi to produce Speedrun, a daily news show. This partnership does not influence our editorial coverage of Quibi as a platform.]

What is Quibi?

A new streaming service designed for streaming short content on mobile devices. The name is a portmanteau for “quick bite.” Get it? (For the record, “Hulu” does not stand for Huge Lunch, it’s the Mandarin word for “Interactive recording.”)

What’s the point of Quibi?

The idea of Quibi is to deliver entertainment in a fast-paced world full of young people who primarily use their phones to stream their entertainment, and want it in brief installments they can digest while they’re hopping around between different tasks or amusements. That’s why any given Quibi episode tops out at 10 minutes long.

To pull from the Quibi fact sheet, “Quibi is targeting millennials with disposable income who want premium video content for those in between moments in life.” So it’s meant to be content we can consume with the tiny stretch of cell-phone connectivity we get when a train is in the subway station, before it’s between repeaters. (Or you download episodes — that works, too.)

will forte and kaitlin olson dress in wacky americana costumes in quibi’s flipped
Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson star in Flipped
Photo: Quibi

So it’s just short videos?

Each “show” either a longer project divided into short segments, a serial, or a news show. As of launch, Quibi shows are divided into three categories: “Movies in Chapters” (movies broken into 10-minute segments), “Unscripted and Docs” (episodic shows with short episodes), and “Daily Essentials” (news shows, which are under 7 minutes long).

How can I watch a Quibi?

Quibi is designed to be viewed primarily on mobile devices. A fun quirk about Quibi? Every show has both a horizontal and vertical view, which will adjust when you rotate your phone. This will supposedly shift seamlessly as you’re watching the shows. You can start out watching a show vertically while walking home from work, then pivot it to horizontal view while propping your phone on the kitchen table as you microwave Totino’s pizza rolls.

There’s no option for watching on a computer?

Nope. Quibi is a mobile-only platform. The future — it’s here. And only available on phones.

What’s on Quibi?

Unlike Netflix, Hulu, or Disney Plus, Quibi is launching with entirely new content produced exclusively for the platform. In that way, it’s more like Apple TV Plus, which launched last November with a full slate of original programming.

Quibi has a variety of shows produced by and starring recognizable talent. (Plus Polygon staffers — we made a news show called Speedrun.) The platform’s playing fast and loose with the kinds of content it’s making. A modern adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game starring a Hemsworth brother? A docu-series about a mayor charged by the FBI? A show where blindfolded chefs get smashed in the face with food? Yep. There’s a full list of launch titles and descriptions at the end of this dic.

Queen Latifah in When the Streetlights Go On
Queen Latifah in When the Streetlights Go On
Photo: Quibi

Is Quibi free?

Nope. Quibi costs actual real human money.

How do I sign up for Quibi?

The Quibi website has full instructions and links to the app at the Apple app store for iPhones and iPad, and on Google Play for Android.

How much does Quibi cost?

Quibi offers two pricing tiers. The first is ad-supported and costs $4.99 a month. Videos less than five minutes in length will get 10-second ads, while those between 5 and 10 minutes will get 15-second ads. The second tier is ad-free and costs $7.99 a month.

Is Quibi worth it?

Hard to say right now, but if you’re hesitant about spending $4.99 a month on yet another streaming service, there’s a 90-day free trial going on if you sign up for Quibi before April 20. Here’s a breakdown of what’s available as of launch day:

The Movies in Chapters you can watch right now

  • Most Dangerous Game: A modern-day redux of Richard Connell’s short story about an aristocrat who hunts people for sport, starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz.
  • Survive: Starring Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner, Survive follows two survivors of a plane crash who must — you guessed it — survive a rugged wilderness.
  • When the Streetlights Go On: A small town bands together after the ruthless killing of a young girl and a teacher.
  • Flipped: A comedy that puts a twist on the home-renovation genre. Two renovation experts are kidnapped and forced to renovate homes by a drug cartel.
  • 50 States of Fright: This Sam Raimi-produced horror anthology explores creepy folklore from each of the 50 states.

The Unscripted and Docs shows

  • Nikki Fre$h: A comedy series about reality star Nicole Richie’s rap alter ego, which she uses to infuse wellness with a fresh style of music.
  • Fierce Queens: A nature documentary series focusing on “fierce” female animals, narrated by Reese Witherspoon.
  • I Promise: A documentary about LeBron James, specifically about his I Promise School, a partnership between the James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools
  • Memory Hole: Starring Will Arnett, Memory Hole is an archive show about the most “cringe-worthy” moments in pop culture. The first season will be focused on Canada.
  • NightGowns with Sasha Velour: A behind-the-scenes look at drag queen Sasha Velour’s creative process.
  • Prodigy: Eight young athletes tell us about their accomplishments.
  • Run this City: The youngest mayor ever elected in Fall River, Massachusetts gets indicted by the FBI.
  • Shape of Pasta: A chef travels Italy in search of rare pasta shapes, known only to small remote villages.
  • &Music: “Unsung artists” of the music industry, such as lighting directors, choreographers, and audio engineers get a moment to shine.
  • Chrissy’s Court: Think Judge Judy, but with model and social media personality Chrissy Tiegan.
  • Dishmantled: A cooking competition hosted by Titus Burgess that will start off with a cannon blasting a mystery dish into the faces of two blindfolded chefs, who will have to use their culinary skills to recreate it.
  • Elba vs. Block: Idris Elba and rally car driver Ken Block race cars and complete stunts.
  • Gayme Show: Two straight contestants compete to see who can be the most gay.
  • Gone Mental with Lior: Lior Suchard, the world’s best mentalist, and a celebrity guest perform mind-reading stunts.
  • Murder House Flip: A home makeover show, except it’s exclusively about homes where people have been killed.
  • Punk’d: A reboot of Ashton Kutcher’s celebrity prank series, but with some augmented-reality hijinks.
  • The Sauce: Usher judges dance competitions in this show that tours dance cultures across the U.S.
  • Singled Out: A reboot of the MTV dating show of the same name, reinvented for the Tinder era.
  • Skrrt With Offset: Migos member Offset talks to celebs about their fancy cars.
  • Thanks a Million: Rich celebrities donate $100,000 to random people in need.
  • You Ain’t Got These: A deep dive into the world of sneaker culture.
Sasha Velour in Nightgowns
Sasha Velour in Nightgowns
Photo: Quibi

The Daily Essentials news shows

  • 60 in 6 by CBS News: An adaptation of CBS’s 60 Minutes, but condensed into 6 minutes.
  • Speedrun by Polygon: That’s us! A show about gaming and entertainment news.
  • Last Night’s Late Night: A late-night-show recap from Entertainment Weekly.
  • The Daily Chill: A daily ASMR show with guided visuals.
  • The Rachel Hollis Show: A motivational show from author and blogger Rachel Hollis.
  • Sexology with Shan Boodram: Sex educator Shan Boodram hosts an educational show about love, dating, and sex in the modern age.
  • Fashion’s a Drag: RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Willam Belli and supermodel Denise Bidot lead a panel of fashion experts discussing the day’s fashion trends.
  • The Nod with Brittany & Eric: From the podcasters of the same name, this daily show dives into black culture.
  • Morning Report by NBC News: A daily weekday news report from NBC.
  • Saturday Report by NBC News: The same thing, but for Saturday.
  • Sunday Report by NBC News: The same thing, but for Sunday.
  • Around the World by BBC News: The international news angle.
  • Pulso News by Telemundo: A daily news show from Telemundo, meant for the English-speaking Latinx population.
  • For the Cultura by Telemundo: The pop culture offshoot of the above.
  • Weather Today by the Weather Channel: I wonder what this is.
  • NewsDay and NewsNight by CTV News: A news show, but for Canada.
  • The Replay by ESPN: A sports show.
  • Yet untitled TSN sports show: A sports show, but for Canada.
  • All the Feels by the Dodo: A show about “emotionally resonant animal stories” for a daily pick me up.
  • Close Up by E! News: A daily celebrity and pop-culture news show.
  • Fresh Daily by Rotten Tomatoes: A daily conversation about movies and TV.
  • No Filter by TMZ AM: Edgy celeb gossip to start your day with.
  • No Filter by TMZ PM: Edgy celeb gossip to end your day with.
  • Trailers by Fandango: The best trailers of the day in one quick bite.
  • Pop5: A daily collage of pop music news.
  • Hot off the Mic: A daily standup series from new and emerging comedians.

If I like a Quibi show, how do I see more?

Quibi is planning to release “over 25 new episodes” of these shows per day, for more than three hours of new content daily. And that’s just the shows launching with the platform — there’s already a slate of new content coming later April. Here’s what to expect:

Upcoming movies

  • The Fugitive: Premiering sometime in April, The Fugitive is a modern update of both the 1963 TV series and the 1993 movie starring Harrison Ford.
  • #FreeRayShawn: A modern twist on Dog Day Afternoon, this show follows an Iraq war veteran (Stephen James) who takes shelter in his apartment building after a botched drug deal. It premieres on April 13.
  • The Stranger: A thriller following a mysterious passenger (Dane Dehaan) and a ride-share driver (Maika Monroe) as they dive deeper into Los Angeles. Premieres April 13.
  • Dummy: Anna Kendrick stars as an aspiring writer who competes for her boyfriend’s attention with his sex doll. Premieres April 20.

Upcoming docuseries

  • Cup of Joe: Basically Joe Jonas’ travel vlog. Premieres April 27.
  • Legends of the Hidden Temple: A reboot of the popular Nickelodeon game show, but for nostalgic adult competitors. Premieres sometime in April.
  • Fight Like a Girl: Pro-wrestlers pair with young women to inspire them to be tougher, stronger, healthier versions of themselves. Available April 13.
  • Floored: A dance show that takes place on a moving stage with surprise obstacles. Premieres April 27.
  • Iron Sharpens Iron: Star athletes from different sports come together to talk training. Available April 20.

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