Jeffrey Katzenberg Is Not Interested in Your Skepticism About Quibi

July 17, 2019, 1:15 AM UTC

In recent months, the conventional wisdom has been that there are now too many video streaming services.

But yet another is on the way—a short-form, mobile-only platform by the name of Quibi (a shortening of “quick bites”), led by chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman. Just don’t dare to ask Katzenberg about Quibi plans to fit into the packed streaming economy.

“I don’t want to get defensive, but… you’re comparing apples to submarines,” Katzenberg said in response to a question on Tuesday at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. “You can’t get what we’re doing on a television set.”

With brief shows and movies told in “chapters” seven to ten minutes long designed for “on the go” viewing, Quibi is less worried about competition from HBO, Netflix, or Disney — or social media. “I would say we are not YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat; we’re Quibi,” Katzenberg said.

The former Disney and DreamWorks executive became playfully combative towards the end of the panel, challenging Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca about his adversarial questions. Nusca’s efforts earned some sympathy from Whitman, who advised Katzenberg to back down and let the moderator proceed, to which he said: “Don’t let him ask the question, Meg, you have to stop him beforehand. This is a duel!”

Whitman, former CEO of both eBay and Hewlett Packard — the Silicon Valley to Katzenberg’s Hollywood — joked that Quibi’s strength lies in the fact that the pair “think differently about pretty much everything.”

She said that a significant chunk of Quibi’s $1 billion-plus in funding thus far will be spent on marketing, given that it’s a “whole new use case” built on deep personalization and expert curation.

Katzenberg ended the panel by announcing that Quibi, which is supposed to debut in April 2020, has struck a deal with the BBC to host a global news show airing everyday at 12 p.m. He also added that Quibi will feature a “nightly meditation show” utilizing ASMR and visual stimulation, though he was vague on the details. 

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