Short-Form Platform Quibi Will Debut in April 2020 and Have a Documentary About Evan Spiegel

Company adds 4 more titles to its inaugural content roster

(L. to r.) NBC reporter Dylan Byers, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg at SXSW Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

Quibi, the new short-form content platform, is adding four more titles to its inaugural content roster, along with a more definitive debut date.

The company, founded by Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman, won’t debut until April, Katzenberg said today onstage at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. However, the company is adding a number of big names to its lineup of stars.

The latest to join the growing list is Fratboy Genius, a series that will tell the backstory of Snap Inc. founder Evan Spiegel.

“It is the story of how he built and created Snapchat, which is one of the great social platforms of our time, and we want to tell a story that is as compelling and interesting about the creation of Snapchat and Evan’s story as The Social Network was for Facebook,” Katzenberg said.

The series is based on an Elissa Karasik screenplay that was featured on the 2018 Black List—a list of all the Hollywood scripts that haven’t been produced. Katzenberg said the media-shy Spiegel “should be flattered.”

Katzenberg said Quibi is also working on a series starring Jennifer Lopez called Thanks a Million. In the series, Lopez and others will give $100,000 to someone who made a difference in their lives, and the recipients will then give $50,000 to someone from their own past.

Other shows in the works include a music competition judged by Scooter Braun, who’s best-known for discovering talent including Justin Bieber, and a documentary about the hit Telemundo telenovela El Señor de los Cielos.

Quibi plans to release 100 pieces of original content a week in its first year. Katzenberg said he hopes “Quibi will be to short form what Kleenex is to tissue, what Google is to search.”

“We want to make information as convenient as Spotify made music,” he said.

Whitman, Quibi’s CEO, said the two are polar opposites in terms of their focus at the company, which has already raised more than $1 billion in its effort to resurrect serialized storytelling.

“Jeffrey will argue with stories and algorithms,” Whitman said. “And I’ll say, ‘Jeffrey, do you have any data to show that is true?”

Also notable is Quibi’s focus on 5G, the speed of which it says will help with streaming high-quality content.

“We are a perfect use case for 5G and the amount of content every person consumes,” Whitman said. “I don’t think we are going to steal minutes from anyone else; we’re going to expand the market.”


@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.
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