"Ontologically, traditional images mean phenomena; technical images mean concepts. Deciphering the technical images implies reading their position", Vilém Flusser.
By: Mg. Luis Fernando Gutiérrez Cano and Mg. Luis Jorge Orcasitas Pacheco.
The digital age that humanity is currently observing, supported essentially by the Internet, has become, at first, transformation and innovation of the different environments of contemporary society. In this scenario, during the last three decades the methods of media production, specifically those that make up the audiovisual sector, have experienced multiple advances, of a technical, economic and narrative nature, leading it to radical transformations, facilitating one of the greatest renovations and expansions in the integral processes of media production (Ruano, 2009).
One of the aspects that has contributed most to the evolution of the audiovisual sector is media convergence, that is, "the flow of content through multiple media platforms, cooperation between multiple media industries and the migratory behavior of media audiences, willing to go almost anywhere in search of the desired type of entertainment experiences" (Jenkins, 2008, p. 14). In this convergent environment, the boundaries that were created between the different mass media are diluted, and these are intermingled with telecommunications and computer services.
The prominence of mobile telephony
As Ruano (2009) points out, at present, to access television content, the television set is no longer necessary, since mobile telephony, linked to the Internet, has become an attractive means for access and distribution of audiovisual content. This is supported by the statistics of the International Telecommunications Union, ITU (2020), which indicate that, in 2019, 53.6% of the world's population, that is, 4100 million people, use the Internet (graph 1), and in 2018, the World Bank (2020), based on ITU data, indicated that there are 7859 million mobile cellular subscribers in the world (graph 2).
These statistics reveal that, in the history of technology, there is no precedent of such an exponential diffusion as that evidenced in the case of the Internet and mobile cellular telephony binomial.
The above described is a determining factor, which has contributed significantly to the generation of a new circulation of audiovisual content, where "television is no longer seen exclusively on television. Internet and mobile telephony stand out as two very attractive platforms for distributing audiovisual content" (Ruano, 2009, p. 333). It is, in this specific environment, where online entertainment companies have emerged that market content under the VoD (Video on Demand) service by streaming, such as Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Disney Play, among other platforms, which have generated a revolution in the distribution and consumption habits of series and movies.
Quibi, a new platform that privileges mobile telephony
In a market such as that of the large platforms that offer streaming services, with about 900 million subscribers, and in constant growth, Quibi (pronounced cuibai) emerges, a platform that aspires to become the Netflix model for the distribution of short content by cell phone, which can be called "express" content; precisely, the name of this technological innovation has its origin in the term Quick Bites (quick bites or small bites, in Spanish), which is established from the Mobile Visualization Technology Turnstyle, which facilitates that users can change a program nimbly vertically or horizontally (Martínez (2020), that is, what could be called as a mobile usability experience, allowing for viewing in any way.
The creators of this new mobile platform are Jeffrey Katzenberg, former director of Walt Disney Studios and co-founder of DreamWorks, and Meg Whitman, former executive of eBay and Hewlett Packard; both constituted this project, which was born almost two years ago, with a cost of one billion dollars and which, as Carman (2020) points out, has had the link of important hollywood names.
Quibi is committed to short videos, fast consumption and that give prevalence to the mobility of users; in the same way, Quibi has as a proposal to be able to offer content on demand, agile and fun, as observed in Instagram or TikTok (Aguilar, 2020); likewise, another element of innovation focuses on films that are divided into chapters of 10 minutes and with weekly premieres, thus avoiding extensive visualizations that could seem boring to their users; even, you can also access shorter videos, of 4 or 5 minutes, on different topics (González, 2020).
Precisely, quibi's target audience is oriented to millennials or millennials, young people who constantly travel through social networks (freelancer or instagramer, for example), and who increasingly access video content on the Internet, but of short duration. Within that dynamic, the platform plans to release three hours of new content each weekday as part of its attempt to become a daily habit, with the presentation of more than 175 original programs and 8500 episodes of those Quick Bites during its first year (Carman, 2020).
Quibi's marketing strategy aims to "hook the viewer and trust in keeping them with new programs" (Tones, 2020), with productions by renowned Hollywood characters such as Sam Raimi, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, Guillermo del Toro, Selena Gómez, Zac Efron and Kendall Jenner, among others.
The key question for Quibi is whether it will achieve success like other streaming service companies, taking into account the high levels of demand of users and, above all, the highly competitive market, with true heavyweights such as Netflix or Disney Play, among others; its managers trust in the success of Quibi, especially for the experience of more than 40 years in Hollywood of Katzenberg and 20 years of Whitman in the technological environment, and because both perfectly conceive their respective fields of action, and are established as the perfect combination, which they understand will be a cardinal factor for the success of a platform that aims to become a new audiovisual trend, conducive to consumption on cell phones. Time and users will decide.
* Mg. Luis Fernando Gutiérrez Cano and Mg. Luis Jorge Orcasitas Pacheco, are professors at the Pontifical Bolivarian University of Medellín.