Investor-funded content creation will come to an end in “the not-too-distant future”, the CFO of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming short-form platform Quibi told a Los Angeles conference on Wednesday (27).
Ambereen Toubassy intimated that loss-leading funding models for content adopted by companies that were cash-negative or built to drive other parts of a parent company’s business would not last the course.
Speaking at the Entertainment Finance Forum presented by Winston Baker, the Quibi executive agreed with Legendary CFO Ron Hohauser when he said subscription and ad-supported platforms and transactional payment mechanisms would be around for the foreseeable future.
Toubassy outlined the programming approach at Quibi, the $1bn start-up that Katzenberg and his CEO Meg Whitman aim to launch at the end of the year, first in the US and Canada, followed by China through a joint venture with Alibaba.
Describing the venture as a pyramid of premium content of varying genres and budgets generally aimed at the 25-35-yer-old demographic, Toubassy said top tier content would be scripted entertainment that would include 10-minute chapters of stories that were two to three hours long.
Bottom of the pyramid would be “daily content that are meant to be habit-forming, news-oriented programming – sport, gaming-oriented categories.” The middle segment would be “pretty much everything” including reality and game shows.
“It’s never been a better time to be a content creator,” said Michael Lee, CFO of Perfect World Pictures (USA), echoing a common refrain heard in finance and investment circles. Perfect World is a co-financier with Universal Pictures on Us, Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out that will open SXSW on March 8.