Entertainment

Quibi in talks to stream on Roku, Amazon Fire TV devices, report says

Quibi launched as a mobile-only streaming service with star-packed shows, but almost immediately users complained you couldn't watch it on TVs.

Quibi launched as a mobile-only video service in April. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Quibi, a star-studded mobile video service for short-form video, is in talks with Roku and Amazon to develop apps for both company's popular devices that stream on TVs, according to a Variety report late Tuesday. Quibi, which has reportedly struggled to sign up as many members as it projected, has been widening device support beyond mobile devices to include TVs. 

Roku and Amazon Fire TV together represent about 70% of the streaming-TV devices in the country

Quibi launched in the US in April as a mobile-first service designed to watch on the go, but it was immediately met with complaints from some customers that its big-budget programming wasn't available to watch on the biggest screen in their house. Quibi's rollout as an on-the-go service came just as millions of people were stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

News of the talks with Roku and Amazon follows Quibi's app updates allowing its mobile apps to cast video from phones to televisions via Apple TV devices last month and via a Google Chromecast devices earlier this month.

Roku and Amazon declined to comment. Quibi didn't respond to a message seeking comment. 

Quibi, which costs $5 a month with ads and $8 a month without, ramped up in the middle of a parade of new streaming services, as both tech and media giants rush to define the future of video. It's competing for your loyalty against upstarts like Disney PlusApple TV PlusPeacock and HBO Max, as well as established players like Netflix, too. And, of course, Quibi faces a Goliath in YouTube, the short-video specialist that's already drawing in more than 2 billion viewers every month. 

Quibi hoped its unconventional strategy -- very expensive, star-packed programming released in 10-minute-or-less episodes that you watch on phones or mobile devices -- will set it apart from the crowd, but the company has reportedly struggled to sign up members on pace with its projections.  

Variety's report, citing unnamed sources, characterized Quibi's talks with Roku and Amazon as recently resumed, in the early stages and having the potential to fall apart without any deals. Revenue-sharing terms could be sticking points for the talks, the report said. 

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