tiktok quibi selfie

Quibi vs TikTok: Why We Love One and Not the Other

By Meaghan Kenny, Executive Assistant & Client Services Associate

Timing is everything. This is especially true when it comes to two new apps- Quibi and TikTok. While  everyone has been buzzing about them the past few months, there's no denying that TikTok has commenced its reign over every other social platform. But why? Why do we download one and not the other? Here’s our take on how timing can construct the perfect recipe for success or good old fashioned bad luck.


What are these apps anyway? 

In case you haven’t checked them out for yourself yet, Quibi is a subscription-based streaming platform that users can download right to their mobile phones to watch short scripted and unscripted shows. Users pay $8 per month (or $5 with ads) to watch seven to ten minutes long episodes designed for quick entertainment. This concept of “quick bites” inspired the app’s name Quibi. The episodes can be viewed vertically or horizontally on a mobile device, giving users the flexibility to watch whenever and however they want. 

TikTok is a video sharing social networking platform where users can download the mobile app for free and start creating, viewing, and sharing content. The videos typically consist of lip-sync, dance challenges, comedy, or other talent-related content that is less than a minute long. While the app did first launch in September 2016 under a different name, it didn’t gain popularity in the U.S. until 2019 when viral trends gained attention primarily among teenagers. Charli D'Amelio, the most followed person on TikTok, just turned 16 and already has over 50 million followers. 

Why TikTok? 

  • Engagement, engagement, engagement: The entire concept, and success, of TikTok is based on the idea that users must engage with others. Everything about the app focuses on mimicking, sharing, and following other user’s content. Some of the most popular TikToks are dance challenges, which require users to watch other people’s videos, re-create their own, and share it with their followers. 

Users are also encouraged to engage with others through "duets." This is when a user responds to an existing video by duplicating it and adding their own version alongside the original. These types of TikToks often circulate into people’s “for you page,” which is the app’s version of a Newsfeed. Similarly to Instagram’s “Explore Page,” the “For You Page,” recommends videos you might like based on other’s you’ve watched and engaged with by “liking,” commenting, or sharing. This allows users to find new creators and personalizes their experience on the app. 

  • You're the creator: People have more free time now than ever before and TikTok gives ordinary people the power to create, share, and go viral instantly. Unlike Quibi and any other streaming service or app, TikTok is entirely curated by regular users making original content people enjoy. No scripts, no actors, and no lines. Just you, your phone, and unlimited amounts of time to perfect that dance challenge all your friends are posting. 
  • It’s a new age variety show: A huge part of what has made the app so successful is it’s versatility. The user generated content is entertaining and you can find just about anything you’re interested in. TikTok combines dance challenges and lip sync videos with user’s favorite songs, movie lines, and television clips. It also pulls inspiration from YouTube with short makeup and fashion videos as well as the comedy feel from Vine. It has caught the attention of celebrities and businesses, too. Hours will have passed before you realize how long you have been scrolling through TikTok. 

Why Not Quibi? 

  • Its audience is temporarily non-existent: Despite spending over $400 million in their marketing efforts and getting just about everyone on social media talking about the app’s highly anticipated launch in April, viewership is shockingly low. When you think about it, the concept is pretty genius. Most people don’t have a lot of time to follow long episodes with their busy workday schedules. A quick eight minute episode to watch while in your Uber or riding the subway sounds perfect! Well, it did a few months ago... 

Quibi was designed for on-the-go doers who value their time and don’t have a lot of it. Unfortunately for Quibi, these same people just had everything about their daily routine flipped upside down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Commuters are working from home, people aren’t taking as many Ubers, and users are overwhelmed with content overload. The “in-between moments” that the service was built for no longer exist in people’s “new normal.” 

  • Time is money: These same people who may not have had a lot of time a few months ago, now have a lot of it to spare. They are turning to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ to watch longer episodes and movies to fill more of their time. Quibi was built with time in mind, but certainly not with a pandemic in mind. 

Since the outbreak, the U.S. now has more than 30 million people unemployed. An economic crisis isn’t the best time for people to be spending extra money. People are less likely to purchase a brand new streaming service now when they may already be paying for others, and those others produce longer content. 

  • The buzz was killed: It certainly didn’t help that the launch of this app took place when everyone’s mind was on other things. There was a lot of anticipation for Quibi in the months leading up to its launch, but by the time the launch actually came everyone’s priorities had shifted on the largest scale possible. Users are turning to longer episodes, user-generated content, and what they don’t have to pay for. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been for Quibi if timing was on its side...


Meaghan Kenny graduated from The College of New Jersey in May 2019 and now works on the Concierge.com team as an Executive Assistant/Client Services Associate. She has supported the team on events including the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Fiesta Latina, AMC's The Walking Dead On-Set Fan Party, Jingle Ball, and ALTer Ego. She loves spending summer at the Jersey shore, watching too much reality TV, and hunting down the best iced coffee she can find.  


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