Quibi wins two Emmys for #FreeRayshawn

Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones win acting awards for the struggling streaming service.


Quibi has joined the ranks of other streaming services who’ve scored Emmy awards for their originals. The streaming service, which offers shows composed of bite-sized episodes meant to be consumed on mobile, has bagged two Creative Arts Emmy trophies for police drama #FreeRayshawn. Its stars Laurence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones won acting awards in the short-form category, which is specifically for shows that run two to 17 minutes per episode.

#FreeRayshawn is a timely drama about a Black Iraq War veteran (Stephan James) who finds himself the target of a SWAT team for a crime he didn’t commit. Out of options, he had no choice but to rely on a police lieutenant (Fishburne) to find evidence that would exonerate him. The series has 15 10—minute episodes in all, with each one costing Quibi $1 million. The other Quibi shows that also earned nominations include Most Dangerous Game (acting nom for Christoph Waltz) and Dummy (another acting nom for Anna Kendrick).

As Variety notes, though, it remains to be seen whether a couple of Emmy wins can drum up interest in the service, which hasn’t been doing as well as expected in the subscription department. According to Sensor Tower data, only around 8 percent of the 910,000 users who signed up for a three-month free trial in the app’s first three days stuck with the service. Further, at the rate things are going, Sensor Tower estimates that Quibi will have fewer than 2 million paying subscribers by the end of its first year — that’s way below the company’s original target of 7.4 million subscribers.

Quibi launched on April 6th in the middle of COVID-19 lockdowns. The timing couldn’t be worse for a service that offers shows made for phone screens and are meant to be watched during commute or while waiting in line for coffee. In an effort to capture audiences staying at home, the company had to rush its plans to give the app the capability to cast to TVs. It’s also reportedly looking into building apps for Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices.

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