Quibi has launched a free streaming tier in Australia and New Zealand. In an email obtained by The Verge, the company tells subscribers in the two countries that it’s “now offering an ad-supported free plan so you can choose the right option for you.” In the same message, Quibi says it’s also reducing the price of its single paid tier in Australia from $13 to $7 AUD (approximately $9 and $5 respectively). “No need to take action, just enjoy the extra six bucks,” says the email.
I do appreciate the email Quibi sent to people in Australia and New Zealand! Sent by a reader. pic.twitter.com/7JrYKvUd17— Julia Alexander (@loudmouthjulia) August 5, 2020
A Quibi spokesperson confirmed the move to Engadget. At the moment, it’s unclear if the company plans to launch a similar offering in other markets.
Quibi previously tried to attract new subscribers by uploading some of its original content — in both portrait and horizontal orientations — to YouTube. However, the new tier marks the most drastic attempt to date by Quibi to get new customers.
Despite a splashy introduction at CES 2020 and the visibility of its two co-founders, it’s safe to say Quibi likely hasn’t had the start it imagined it would after securing $1.8 billion in investor funding. As The Verge points out, while the company earned a couple of Emmy nominations recently, it hasn’t had a success like The Mandalorian. Pricing is another likely issue. At $8 per month, the company’s ad-free offering is more expensive than Disney+. Moreover, for the same price as its ad-supported tier, you can get access to Apple TV+, which at least has content like For All Mankind and The Morning Show.
The coronavirus pandemic may have also played a part. While the stay-at-home orders that followed the pandemic’s arrival were a boon to traditional streaming services like Netflix and Disney+, they probably didn’t help Quibi with its content designed for mobile consumption. It also hasn’t helped that Quibi only recently starting allowing people to stream content to TV screens. If the company has something going for it, it’s that it has a lot of cash to weather a slow launch and make moves like the one above.