Quibi launches free ad-supported tier in Australia and New Zealand

Short-form streamer Quibi has launched in Australia and New Zealand and, in a move which acts counter to previous statements from the company, is offering a free ad-supported tier.

The SVOD, which first launched in the US and Canada at the beginning of April, was previously offering a US$5 per month ad-supported service or US$8 per month for an ad-free product.

The company understandably is keen to build up as large an audience as possible, particularly following a disappointing start in which it converted less than 10% of free trial users.

In an email sent to users in Australia and New Zealand, the company said that it is “now offering an ad-supported free plan so you can choose the right option for you.”

The company also said that it is halving the price of its subscription tier from AUD$12.99 per month to AUD$6.99 per month, though it is unclear whether this offering is ad-supported or ad-free.

In comments made to Gizmodo, a spokesperson for the company said that it would assess the viability of different business models on a market-by-market basis, so it remains to be seen whether a free tier is likely to be introduced in the US or indeed in any international expansion.

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has been quick to blame Quibi’s poor performance on the coronavirus pandemic, with viewers staying at home being antithetical to its pick-up-and-go business model. However, the introduction of a free tier may go some way to convince users that Quibi is an essential service for them to use.

Analysts have criticised Quibi for lacking a direct focus and for having any killer content on the app. Henry Beckwith, an analyst at Ampere, previously told Digital TV Europe: “The value proposition of Quibi from the start has been hard to clearly define. Whilst claiming to compete more in the social media world than the streaming world, Quibi crucially has so far failed to provide enough added value to consumers to justify the US$4.99 minimum price tag.”

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