Tim­ber­lake, Kobe in talks for short videos

Business World - - Arts & Leisure -

POP STAR Justin Tim­ber­lake and bas­ket­ball leg­end Kobe Bryant are in talks to cre­ate pro­grams for a new on­line ser­vice called Quibi, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter, join­ing a video start-up backed by ti­tans from Hol­ly­wood and the Sil­i­con Valley.

The two glob­ally known stars would pro­duce and ap­pear in the se­ries for ser­vice, whose name is short for quick bites, un­der the deals be­ing dis­cussed, said the peo­ple, who asked not to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the ne­go­ti­a­tions haven’t been com­pleted.

Quibi is a new video ser­vice led by Jef­frey Katzen­berg, the long-time head of DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion, and Meg Whit­man, the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of EBay and Hewlet­tPackard. The two have raised $1 bil­lion to build a paid out­let for high­end, short-form video — promis­ing HBO-like qual­ity in TV shows that run 10 min­utes or less.

“This quick-bite form of entertainment should be as big a growth op­por­tu­nity, as TV was when it came around in the mid-1950s,” Katzen­berg said on a panel at Van­ity Fair’s New Es­tab­lish­ment Sum­mit in Bev­erly Hills.

The talks with Tim­ber­lake and Bryant of­fer a glimpse into the pro­gram­ming strat­egy of the ser­vice. The two ex­ec­u­tives on Wed­nes­day also an­nounced a hand­ful of other cre­ative part­ners, in­clud­ing Get Out pro­ducer Jason Blum, Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor Guillermo del Toro and Train­ing Day film­maker An­toine Fuqua.

Quibi plans to pro­duce more than 70 pro­grams in its first year, about half of which will be orig­i­nal se­ries, ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple. The com­pany plans to spend the equiv­a­lent of up to $5 mil­lion an hour on those shows and pay the pro­duc­ing stu­dios a fee on top of pro­duc­tion costs.

The other half of the slate will be a mix of short news clips, sports and life­style videos. The com­pany re­cently hired Jan­ice Min, for­mer ed­i­tor-in-chief of the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, to over­see entertainment news. Scripted shows would run eight to 10 min­utes, while news and other un­scripted pro­grams would last five to seven min­utes.

Whit­man and Katzen­berg aim to re­lease the ser­vice in late 2019. It will cost $5 a month for those will­ing to watch ad­ver­tise­ments, and $8 a month for those who aren’t. —

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