Quibi is paying a network of digital media sites to write about its original shows, borrowing a tactic from Netflix, Hulu, and other streamers

  • Quibi is working with bloggers to create content around its original programming. 
  • The mobile-video startup, which launched in April, has a deal with Static Media’s content studio that resulted in paid posts about Quibi programming on entertainment sites like Looper and Nicki Swift.
  • Other streaming services including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have had similar deals with publishers to promote their programming over the years.
  • Do you have a tip about Quibi? Email this reporter at arodriguez@businessinsider.com or message her on the encrypted messaging at Signal at +1-347-770-5933.
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Quibi is paying for bloggers to write about its original programming. 

The mobile-video startup, which launched in April, inked a deal with Static Media’s studio to create content focused on Quibi shows.

Static’s pop-culture blog, Looper, published nine posts between June 30 and July 21 that were marked “paid for by Quibi and created by Looper,” based on Business Insider’s review of the website. NickiSwift.com, another Static brand, also published four posts in roughly the same time period that were marked “paid for by Quibi.”

The posts focused on shows including “Reno 911,” “Dummy,” “Most Dangerous Game,” “The Stranger,” “Nikki Fre$h,” “Kirby Jenner,” and “Chrissy’s Court,” which began rolling out in April or May.

Quibi characterized the content to Business Insider as market research to find topics that were popular with consumers. It said it has a broad range of partnerships, like others in the industry.

Quibi, which raised $1.8 billion ahead of launch, has ramped up its efforts to get people talking about its programming since the platform was released.

The subscription service debuted to disappointing user uptake, though Quibi previously told Business Insider it was proud of its launch.

Analytics firm Antenna, which measures churn and other metrics for subscription businesses, estimated that 27% of people who signed up for Quibi’s 90-day free trial on the first day it was available stuck around, and started paying for the service when their trials ended in July.

The retention rate was lower than that of other recent streaming entrants, including Disney Plus. But Quibi didn’t have the benefit of the established Disney brand and its broad back catalog of content.

One Quibi investor recently told Business Insider that word-of-mouth around Quibi content, much of which stars big names like Kevin Hart, Liam Hemsworth, and Anna Kendrick, will be crucial to the platform gaining more traction.

On top of pushing new titles like the Kevin Hart-starring “Die Hart” and its upcoming “The Fugitive” series,” Quibi is also still marketing its first slate of shows, as the recent Looper and Nicki Swift content suggests. Some of Quibi’s series performed solidly among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but failed to break through into the broader cultural conversation.

Other streaming services have also turned to sponsored content to get people talking about their originals.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have paid publishers from PopSugar to The Atlantic to promote their programming over the years. The trend goes back to at least 2013, when Netflix sponsored an op-ed in the New York Times about women in the prison system to promote “Orange Is the New Black,” one of its first hit original series. 

Netflix has also worked with Static’s Looper. In one example, Looper published an article titled, “Hidden mystery gems on Netflix you need to watch,” which was also published as a video in partnership with Looper on Netflix’s film-focused YouTube account. (Netflix declined to comment on the partnership.)

Working with bloggers appears to be part of a larger strategy to get more attention for Quibi’s content

Working with bloggers appears to be one part of a larger strategy to get more attention for Quibi’s programming. 

Quibi has been more active on social media in recent weeks, sharing more clips of its programming and organic articles about the content.

In June, Quibi tweeted one Looper article about “Most Dangerous Game,” with a self-effacing joke that nodded at the mixed reception its content had gotten.

“See guys we have a good show,” the tweet said.

That particular Looper article was not paid for by Quibi, according to Looper, though the subsequent marked articles were.

Quibi also enabled screenshotting within its mobile platform this week, opening the door for people to generate memes and otherwise share moments from Quibi shows.

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