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Quibi launches a free tier, which pretty much says it all

In our review of the short-form video subscription service Quibi we said it was ‘worth a spin, but not worth the price’ and it seems plenty of people agree.

The new mini-Netflix service, exclusive to smartphone devices, is already launching a free ad-funded tier for the platform in some territories, although not in the UK right now. Subscribers in Australia and New Zealand are seeing a near-50% price cut, reducing the ad-free price to $6.99 AUD, while also offering a “totally free option.”

In an in-app message sent by a The Verge reader, Quibi says the offer is only available in those countries right now, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it extended to more territories.

Related: Best shows to watch on Netflix

Quibi, which stands for ‘quick bites’, offers a 90-day free trial, but it appears to be struggling to maintain subscribers, despise racking up millions of downloads since its launch this spring.

The premise of the service is strong, given the limited attention spans of its target viewer – the Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok aficionado. The service maxes out at ten minute episodes for fiction and non-fiction content and has signed up plenty of big Hollywood names for its programming.

Chrissy Teigen, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Liam Hemsworth and Kevin Hart have their own shows, while Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro are involved behind the camera.

However, nothing’s really caught on thus far and gained ‘you’ve gotta see this’ status, despite the heavy investment in some of the industry’s biggest names. That lack of sustainable paid subscriptions could also be down to the notion that the target demographic doesn’t particularly like paying for things. Thus a free, ad-supported tier seems like a natural next step.

Let’s hope there’s a free option for UK subscribers, who’re currently asked to fork over £7.99 a month for the limited library of content that can only be viewed on one of their devices.

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