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Entertainment Media/Telecom

Katzenberg’s Quibi Faces Quandary: Meeting Ambitious Content Goal

With his new mobile video startup Quibi, veteran Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg is trying to turn short videos for mobile phones into can’t-miss programming. He has promised to stack Quibi with 5,000 10-minute episodes of various movies or TV shows within its first year of launch. But at a time when there’s no shortage of deep-pocketed buyers hungry for content, whether Quibi can get enough quality content is a big question.

Moreover, as Mr. Katzenberg and his programming executives scour Hollywood for new shows, the creative community has been apprehensive, say agents and producers. Some dislike the bite-sized episode lengths of 10 minutes or so planned by Quibi. They complain that the time commitment required to produce shows for an experimental platform is unappealing. It doesn’t help that Quibi is competing for top-shelf series with Netflix, Amazon, HBO and upcoming services from Apple and Disney. Most of these are buying shows made in the more conventional 30- to 60-minute length.

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