Quibi short-form video service just launched an ad-supported free tier

Short-form video streaming service Quibi — one that is designed to watch during short moments of free time using a smartphone — has had a bit of rocky start. Though millions of people downloaded the app shortly after it launched in early April, the service hasn't caught on in any sort of significant way, raising questions over its viability in a crowded market — something no doubt made harder by its niche design. What could help? An entirely free tier.

Quibi is a short-form video service — it's name stands for 'quick bite' in reference to its 10-minutes-or-less video length. The platform is home to scripted and unscripted content, and the company has managed to score some notable celebrities for its shows. Despite this, none of the content has gone viral.

The idea is that unlike existing streaming services, Quibi content can be easily watched between other activities from the comfort of your phone, including in portrait orientation. An 'episode' can be watched while waiting in a lobby, on the train, in a taxi, or other brief, boring moments of time.

After a two-week trial, Quibi costs $4.99/month; not a substantial amount, but still quite a bit considering what you get compared to slightly more expensive services like CBS All Access and Hulu. Months after launch, it seems Quibi may be dabbling with a potential change in places, namely the addition of an ad-support free tier.

Quibi has introduced this free option in the Australian and New Zealand markets, giving users the opportunity to watch shows on the platform without paying, but with the minor added annoyance of advertisements. Whether this is a test ahead of a planned expansion of the new plan isn't clear at this time, however. The company has also introduced a price cut in those markets.