The most important award of television can be its least important streaming service: Quibi. The service was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, of which it is almost certain to win at least one.
Quibi, which estimates that only 8 percent of people who sign up for a three-month free trial, has suddenly begun to bring content to the same level as Break bad or Game of Thrones. Instead, the short form streaming service competes in a game that no one else plays.
At face value, the Quibi nomination and almost certain victory seem impossible: Quibi has only 16 original drama or comedy shows that have existed for just over three months, and has had about the same impact on the media landscape as the Abrams tank water balloon.
But the potential success of the Quibi award has almost nothing to do with the quality of its content or the success (or lack thereof) of the service. It all has to do with good content that Quibi creates. Let’s look at the categories in which Quibi is nominated, right? (Quibi nominations are highlighted in bold):
An outstanding actor in a short comedy or drama series
- Lawrence Fishburne as Lieutenant Stephen Poinzi, #FreeRayshawn (They)
- Stephen James as Reichoun, #FreeRayshawn (They)
- Christoph Waltz as Miles’ salesman, The most dangerous game (They)
- Corey Hawkins as Paul, Survive (They)
- Mamud Ati, as Jerome, Oh Jerome, no (FX)
An outstanding actress in comedy or drama series of short form
- Anna Kendrick as Cody, Dummy (They)
- Caitlin Olson as cricket, Turned over (They)
- Jasmine Cephas Jones as Silence, #FreeRayshawn (They)
- Kerry Kenny-Silver as Deputy Labor Truel, Renault 911! (They)
- Rain Valdez as Bel Jonas, Razor tongue (YouTube)
An outstanding short-form comedy or drama series
- Better call Saul’s staff: Learning Ethics with Kim Wexler (AMC)
- A good place is: choice (NBC)
- Star Trek: Short Hikes (Full access to CBS)
- Renault 911! (They)
- The most dangerous game (They)
Quibi nominations are exclusive to Emmy categories specific to the short form. Its competition is several spinofts in large series and YouTube series. If something doesn’t work very bad for a streaming service focused on a mobile phone, it will go with at least one award that will come in September.
Are these these categories of prestige? Not to the extent that the full-length categories “Best Actor, Actress” and “Drama”. But! They are still Emmy Awards that Quibi can boast of – and use them to advertise their shows to both viewers and advertisers. Quibi’s overall strategy of big budgets, small performance sessions with added A-list actors may not have done much to keep viewers tuned, but they’re practically designed for these short Emmy categories – categories that Quibi is set to dominate.
Emmy awards are not good for low subscriber numbers, and it is likely that winning will not help bring back Quibi’s fortune. A Sensor Tower report earlier in July found that the company was able to turn about 72,000 of its initial 910,000 users into paid customers when the three-month free trial ended. Quibi denied the figures at the time, claiming that the Sensor Tower numbers were “wrong”, but he was unable to provide his own subscriber. Even if the service can’t change things, an Emmy or two award may not be a bad consolation.