Quibi demonstrates how advertisers can shoot ads in both vertical and horizontal formats
Quibi, the new digital video startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, rolled out the red carpet for advertisers at CES, showing off new ad formats for the service that is set to launch in April.
On Wednesday, Katzenberg and Quibi’s CEO Meg Whitman addressed the crowd in Las Vegas, and they brought up advertisers like PepsiCo and T-Mobile, which are among the first brands to sponsor the service. Quibi has been in the works since 2018, with Katzenberg and Whitman lining up more than a billion dollars to finance new shows and movies produced explicitly for mobile devices. The company said that it sold $150 million in ads for Quibi’s first year.
Adam Harter, SVP of sports, media and entertainment at PepsiCo, was one of the guests who presented one of the new ads that would run alongside Quibi shows. "Like most advertisers, we've found it challenging to find those millennials in the on-the-go moments," Harter said.
He then gave an exclusive look at how Pepsi’s Mountain Dew took advantage of Quibi’s mobile platform, by shooting the ads with the same technology that powers the shows.
One of the unique aspects to Quibi is that it created what it calls “turnstile” videos, so that the viewer can rotate the phone from vertical to horizontal and it plays in full screen in either direction. Such a trick requires producing the video with a thought to how it will appear in widescreen and in the close-up mode when it’s in the vertical position.
It takes a traditional ad format and “literally turns it on its head,” Harter said.
T-Mobile’s incoming CEO Mike Sievert also joined Quibi executives, discussing the partnership to bring the service to its mobile devices this year. T-Mobile has 68 million subscribers and has had similar content partnerships with companies like Netflix. “The first ever media service that’s designed for mobile is something that our customers are ready for,” Sievert said.
T-Mobile is also an advertiser. Quibi showed off a list of advertisers that included Google, Discover, General Mills, Anheuser-Busch, Progressive, Taco Bell, P&G and Walmart.
Google is also a technology partner with Quibi, using the same infrastructure that helps power YouTube to deliver the new service to devices. Quibi is relying on Google Cloud. “There are so many areas in which we are collaborating,” said Tarik Shaukat, president of partner and industry platforms at Google Cloud, who was also at the CES event.
“It’s mission critical that viewers have a seamless experience,” Shaukat said. “They’re can’t be any buffering.
That’s “mission critical” for advertisers, too. Whitman said that Quibi would have lower ad loads than traditional TV, however, promising two and a half minutes per hour. On broadcast TV, there are closer to 15 minutes of ads every hour.
Quibi also revealed new details about its lineup of celebrities and shows, which includes a new series from Steven Spielberg, Catherine Hardwick and Lorne Michaels. There are celebrities involved like Reese Witherspoon, Idris Elba, Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen and Kevin Hart.
Quibi plans to have 175 shows and 35 movies, mostly told in 7- to 10-minute installments. The company also announced that it raised an additional $400 million to fund new projects.
The service rolls out in April and will cost $4.99 a month with ads, and $7.99 a month for an ad-free version.
Brian Braiker contributed to this report.