Quibi gets CBS, ESPN to sign on for original, short-form programming

Quibi, a startup planning a short-form video streaming service, has signed a pair of significant programming deals ahead of its April 2020 launch.

Both CBS News and ESPN will make original series for the service.

ESPN will be the exclusive U.S. multi-sport content provider for Quibi’s curated news and information programming, Daily Essentials. ESPN’s new Quibi show will feature daily episodes and breaking news.

“Wherever fans are having a conversation around sports, ESPN wants to be there,” said Connor Schell, executive vice president of content at ESPN, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to taking the best of what we do and delivering it in a way that resonates with Quibi subscribers looking to be informed, entertained and engaged around the sports news of the day.”

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At the same time Quibi announced an agreement with CBS News for a six-minute version of “60 Minutes” called “60 in 6,” which will air weekly on the platform.

“This is a perfect opportunity to bring 60 Minutes’ style of storytelling, in-depth reporting and investigative journalism to a new audience,” said “60 Minutes” executive producer Bill Owens in a statement. “We are excited to launch ‘60 in 6,’ as our digital footprint is more important than ever.”

With Quibi, CBS and ESPN are setting up programming deals with a streaming service that could potentially compete with their own. ESPN operates subscription streaming service ESPN+ and CBS runs CBSN, an ad-supported news streaming service.

When Quibi launches next year it will offer both an ad-supported and ad-free experience. The base tier will cost $4.99 per month and include one pre-roll ad before each video segment. The ad will be 10 seconds if the video is less than five minutes, and 15 seconds if the video is between five and 10 minutes long. The ad-free option will cost $7.99 per month.