Better still, what financial model will wireless companies like AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon want when partnering with a Netflix, ABC or other content provider? Something that could sell sensitively priced and consumer-fluid wireless phone communication services.
Quibi, the new mobile-centric video service from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, two high-profile entertainment and technology executives, believe they have an answer: short-form premium video.
It comes down to distribution -- and incentives. T-Mobile already has a deal offering free Netflix service for subscribers who sign up for its family mobile plan. AT&T does a similar deal for its own HBO premium TV service.
Content promotions seem great. But are we sure wireless phone services are the right way to go for long-form content -- half-hour or hour-long TV shows on a mobile device?
Of course, that’s not the whole answer. T-Mobile plans let you download Netflix episodes on two of the four major consumer devices: laptop, TV, phones and tablets.
We can be sure much of that long-form viewing still airs on a traditional TV screen. But what about other video content?
Quibi's premise is that its content will be mobile-centric -- five-minute to 10-minute bits of content. While waiting on a line at Starbucks or a grocery store, consumers will want a high-quality short-video vacation.
At a recent AT&T event in Santa Barbara, California, Katzenberg said this makes sense, even in a world of big TV shows. That’s because TV producers typically break up hour-long dramas into five minute to 10 minute segments for TV ad breaks.
But the key question is: How do you define the word "premium" when it comes to short-form premium video content? Consumers probably still equate short-form video with skateboard mishaps and cat-and-dog antics.
Katzenberg says there is room for better material. For that, you hire name talent, behind and in-front of the camera. He says many producers/actors are interested. Plus, Quibi has scores of major media investor-backing, raising over a $1 billion in funding.
Back to those wireless companies, those key distributors. Will any of these content deals have specific deal points which link to specific sales outcomes? T-Mobile has one. It pays Netflix a fee for every subscriber that signs up for the Netflix promotion.
That’s a nice lead generator for T-Mobile. But it has the powerful Netflix name attached. Can Quibi make the steep climb to big brand must-have awareness?