Quibi Takes on Sundance With First-Ever Previews as Lena Waithe Praises the Business Model

IndieWire | 1/25/2020 | Staff
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Quibi co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman spent Friday at the Sundance Film Festival wooing filmmakers on what they call the next generation of storytelling. Quibi also offered its first-ever preview of the platform in action, with a VIP cocktail party that allowed guests to preview some of the 175 titles that will be available in the mobile-only streaming platform’s first year.

For the uninitiated, Quibi serves up short-form content — movies broken into chapters and an array of scripted and nonscripted series, all with runtimes of 10 minutes or less — that’s meant to replace scrolling through Instagram in line at Starbucks or falling into the dread of Twitter in the dentist’s office waiting room.

Talent - Everyone - Quibi - Show - Company

Talent doesn’t need to be convinced. It already seems like everyone has a Quibi show at the company, which has poured millions into commissioning projects that are licensed rather than owned by the platform. (Unlike Netflix, Katzenberg says, “We’re not a studio.”) Quibi has exclusive rights for seven years, and then the rights are released to the creator.

At a Friday morning Quibi panel with Katzenberg, Quibi creator Lena Waithe (producer and narrator of “You Ain’t Got These,” a docuseries offering a critical look at sneaker culture), that means being able to build an audience around the project before, perhaps, re-editing and releasing it as a feature.

Thing - Ownership - Fact - Idea - Place

“The biggest thing that, really you said it, was ownership — the fact that we would be licensing it to you, an idea that I could do it there and then go sell it to another place,” Waithe said on a stage she shared with Katzenberg. “I’m a businesswoman, first and foremost.”

Lena Waithe at Sundance.

Got - Offerings - Preview - Quibi - Content

“You Ain’t Got These” was among the offerings at a preview of Quibi content Friday night. Dozens gathered at a Main Street space and were handed a...
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