NewTV has a new name. The mobile-first streaming video service, which raised $1 billion in a funding round in August, will go by the name “Quibi” when it launches in 2019.
Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, CEO of the venture, announced the name and the first slate of original programming at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit.
Whitman says Quibi is short for “quick bites,” hinting at the length of programming the company will run.
Quibi will have multiple tiers of service, similar to Hulu. There will be an ad-supported entry-level tier, as well as premium tiers at higher price points. Pricing for the service is still to be determined.
The first slate of shows includes projects from four big names in Hollywood. Horror movie giant Jason Blum will be producing a series for Quibi, and director Sam Raimi is also working on a horror project. Director Guillermo Del Toro is also developing a project, while Antoine Fuqua is creating a reboot of “Dog Day Afternoon” and seeking “A-list actors” to play the lead roles.
Janice Min, one of the first hires for Quibi, said on Twitter that “there are MANY female creators on the way” to the service. The company also hired former Comedy Central president Doug Herzog, and former Hulu engineering vice president Rob Post.
Quibi is one of the biggest bets on original content to come from outside a major content company.
While Katzenberg’s company is independent, it counts just about every media company as an investor. Disney, Fox, NBCUniversal, Viacom and WarnerMedia all invested as part of the $1 billion funding round. In turn, Quibi will order original programming from their studios, replicating the traditional TV production model.
Of course, whether such a bold bet to steal millennial eyeballs away from Snap and YouTube can work is a whole other story, especially when Disney and WarnerMedia are poised to roll out streaming services of their own next year.
“We’ve been to the rodeo a whole bunch of times,” Katzenberg said at the summit. “That play, between improbable and impossible, that’s my home address.”