T-Mobile this morning officially announced its exclusive partnership with the new streaming service, Quibi, set to launch on April 6. The service will be made available for free for a year to T-Mobile customers on its unlimited wireless family plans.
The streaming service, founded by Hollywood media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, has been specifically built for on-the-go viewing on mobile devices. Its “shows” can be watched in 10 minutes or less and take advantage of the mobile device’s ability to be held different ways to enable seamless switching between portrait and landscape modes.
Thanks to Katzenberg’s industry connections, Quibi original content will feature A-Listers and other big names, including Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Chance the Rapper, Liam Hemsworth, Sophie Turner, Lena Waithe, Nicole Richie, Reese Witherspoon and others.
Typically, Quibi subscriptions are offered at $4.99 per month for its ad-supported plan or $7.99 per month for its ad-free option.
Quibi had confirmed last October that a deal with T-Mobile was in place, in statements made to various news outlets. But the details of the deal itself were not yet announced nor confirmed by T-Mobile at that time.
According to T-Mobile’s release, Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included will be eligible for the free Quibi add-on, as will discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans, and small business customers with up to 12 lines.
T-Mobile customers can go to mytmobile.com now through July 7 to sign up, or they can use the T-Mobile Android or iOS app beginning on April 6 to add Quibi.
In addition, until April 3, T-Mobile customers who use the T-Mobile Tuesdays app for Android or iOS can get early access to three bonus episodes of the new Jennifer Lopez series “Thanks a Million” when it launches on April 6. That means customers will have a total of six episodes to watch at launch. And on April 7, five people who enter the T-Mobile Tuesdays sweepstakes will win a free Google Pixel 4 XL.
“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve – streaming more data, watching more mobile video – so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen!”
Teaming up with a mobile carrier to gain traction among customers for a streaming service is a viable strategy. Disney+ did it with Verizon, which ultimately accounted for 20% of its early customers.
However, Quibi isn’t Disney — it’s not a known brand with pent-up consumer demand for a streaming service. What’s more, its initial marketing no longer makes sense in the post-COVID-19 era.
Quibi has had to reposition its service in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak as something that works for at-home viewing. But in reality, the service had been intended to fill those empty moments in your on-the-go lifestyle — like riding the subway, standing in line, sitting in a waiting room before an appointment and more. Now, with people stuck at home in government lockdowns and home quarantines, the minutes stretch out endlessly. There’s plenty of time to watch long-form content and the living room TV has more draw over the small phone screen.
But ultimately, Quibi’s success may not come down to its technology, tricks or episode length. It will come down the quality of its shows and their ability to capture an audience.