Quibi keeping 8% of subscribers after free trial, researcher says


Survive, a drama starring Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner, was one of Quibi’s short-form shows at launch. 


Quibi, a star-studded mobile streaming service, has held onto about 8% of customers whose 90-day free trials ran out this week, according to estimates from mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower late Wednesday. Quibi launched April 6 with a 90-day free trial for anyone who preordered the service before launch and anyone who signed up before May 1. The first wave of those extended free trials started expiring earlier this week. 

Sensor Tower said a maximum of about 72,000 people who installed the app between in the first three days have stayed on as paid subscribers now that their trial periods elapsed. That works out to about 8% conversion to paid subscribers, according to Sensor Tower. The data were reported earlier by Protocol

Some people who signed up for Quibi as late as May 1 still have days or weeks left on their 90-day trial periods. After May 1, Quibi began offering two-week free trials, which remain available to new members. After Quibi free trials end, the service costs $5 a month with advertising and $8 a month for an ad-free tier. 

Quibi didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. To Protocol, a Quibi representative disputed Sensor Tower’s figures, saying the service has “excellent conversion to paid subscribers” and noting that its app has been downloaded more than 5.6 million times. (Sensor Tower’s latest estimate is that Quibi’s app has been installed about 4.5 million times since launch.)

Quibi launched in the US and Canada as service designed to watch on the go, just as swaths of North America were locking down because of the coronavirus pandemic, one of several hurdles to the service reaching its reported (ambitious) growth goals. The company’s mobile-only strategy underestimated the demand to watch its big-budget programming on TVs, especially as people were stuck at home more than ever. And it also made its programming harder to share or meme on social networks, stunting virality and word of mouth. 

The company reportedly aimed to have 7.4 million paying members by the end of it first year, according to the Wall Street Journal

Quibi hoped its unconventional strategy — very expensive, star-packed programming released in 10-minute-or-less episodes that you can watch only on phones or mobile devices — would find a sweet spot in a streaming landscape crowded with the likes of NetflixDisney PlusApple TV PlusPeacock and HBO Max, as well as established players like Netflix. And of course, Quibi faces a Goliath in YouTube, the short-video specialist that’s already drawing in more than 2 billion viewers every month. 

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