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There's a sense that Quibi missed its moment, launching a service optimized for on-the-go viewing during shelter-in-place.

Photo: Janko Roettgers/Protocol
Meg Whitman in front of a screen
Power

Quibi hoped for 7.5 million subscribers in year one. An analyst says it’s at 72,000.

Sensor Tower says that only 8% of the people who signed up for free trials have stuck around when it comes time to pay.

Only 72,000 of Quibi's early subscribers have stuck around past their 90-day trial, according to new estimates from app analytics specialist Sensor Tower. The short-form video service's apps have been downloaded around 4.5 million times since Quibi's launch in early April, Sensor Tower estimated Wednesday. Among the consumers who downloaded the service within three days of its launch, only 8% converted to a paid subscription.

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Consumers who signed up for Quibi on day one saw their 90-day trial expire earlier this week. Randy Nelson, Sensor Tower's head of mobile insights, conceded that the company is likely going to see additional customers switch to a paid plan in the coming days and weeks. "We're seeing some indication that the conversion rate may be improving slightly with time," Nelson told Protocol. "But if the upper bound of 8% we've calculated for those who adopted the app in its first 72 hours were to remain consistent, it would produce about 360,000 paid users from the current drop of 4.5 million installs."

A Quibi spokesperson disputed Sensor Tower's numbers, telling Protocol: "To date, over 5.6 million people have downloaded the Quibi app. Our conversion from download to trial is above mobile app benchmarks, and we are seeing excellent conversion to paid subscribers — both among our 90-day free trial sign-ups from April, as well as our 14-day free trial sign-ups from May and June."

An 8% conversion isn't great news for Quibi, but it's not completely out of the ordinary. Disney+ converted around 11% of its trial customers, according to Sensor Tower estimates. However, Disney's streaming service attracted many more consumers than Quibi to begin with, and the entertainment giant also benefited from a massive prelaunch campaign.

Quibi's original goal reportedly was to attract 7.5 million paying subscribers during year one. That goal seemed to slip out of reach early on. After an initial spike, the Quibi app performed poorly in app stores. There was a sense that Quibi missed its moment, launching a service optimized for on-the-go viewing during shelter-in-place.

Quibi President Jeffrey Katzenberg went as far as blaming all of Quibi's troubles on the pandemic. However, the service also seemingly underestimated the demand for key features, including the ability to share content on social media and to watch shows on TV screens. Quibi's product team, which is led by Snapchat and Pandora veteran Tom Conrad, has since addressed some of these issues with app updates that included the ability to cast content to compatible TV devices.

Updated at 4:27 p.m. to include a statement from Quibi.

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