Jeffrey Katzenberg’s streaming service Quibi, due to launch in April, has partnered with CBS News to modernize “60 Minutes”-style programming for the era of bite-sized video. Instead of an hour-long newsmagazine, CBS News will launch “60 in 6,” which will condense original news stories into six-minute episodes, designed for consumption on mobile devices.
The deal will see 60 Minutes producing one original story per week, as part of Quibi’s licensing agreement.
“This is a perfect opportunity to bring 60 Minutes’ style of storytelling, in-depth reporting, and investigative journalism to a new audience,” said 60 Minutes executive producer Bill Owens, in a statement. “We are excited to launch ’60 In 6,’ as our digital footprint is more important than ever,” he said.
CBS isn’t the first news partner coming to the upcoming streaming service. NBC will build out a full production team exclusively for its Quibi programming, which will include a six-minute morning and evening news show for the service. The BBC and Quibi, meanwhile, are developing an international news show for millennials that’s five minutes in length. And ESPN just agreed to do a sports highlights and news show.
“60 Minutes has been, is, and will continue to be the gold standard of storytelling news journalism,” added Jeffrey Katzenberg, Quibi founder and chairman of the board, in a statement. “Bringing their talent and resources to a new form of storytelling could not be more exciting for us at Quibi,” he said.
News programming is only one aspect to Quibi, which will also include a variety of entertainment offerings from big-name talent, like Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua and producer Jason Blum, among others. Quibi also will feature a show about Snapchat’s founding, an action-thriller starring Liam Hemsworth, a murder mystery comedy from SNL’s Lorne Michaels, a beauty docuseries from Tyra Banks, a Steven Spielberg horror show, a comedy from Thomas Lennon, a car-stunt series with Idris Elba, a comedy series from Trevor Noah, a drama with Queen Latifah, a thriller with Sophie Turner and more.
Quibi’s premise is taking premium content and chopping it up into “quick bites” (hence the name), and delivering it to mobile viewers in both horizontal and vertical formats. The idea, essentially, is to build a Netflix for the Snapchat generation. This is a risky endeavor, given that the targeted demographic — Gen’s Y and Z — is quite happy with their Netflix subscriptions for higher-production value entertainment, and with YouTube for more casual video viewing from the creator community.
Quibi also seems to ignore the fact that most subscription-based video is still watched on TVs, not mobile devices. Meanwhile, on users’ phones, Quibi will have to compete with a range of other apps and games — including the new titles from Apple Arcade — as well as other time fillers, like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.
That said, having Katzenberg at the helm has brought a lot of industry support to Quibi. The company has raised $1 billion from Disney, WarnerMedia, 21st Century Fox and others, and was looking to raise more. It also said this summer it had booked $100 million in ad sales pre-launch.
Quibi will launch in April 2020, and “60 in 6” will be available at that time. The service will cost $5 per month, or $8 to go ad-free.