Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Mobile Start-Up, Quibi, Makes a Deal With ESPN

LOS ANGELES — Quibi’s latest partner is ESPN.

The sports network, part of the Walt Disney Company, has agreed to join the likes of NBC News in providing content for the soon-to-launch short-form video platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg, a onetime chairman of Walt Disney Studios and a founder of DreamWorks.

ESPN’s contribution, a daily sports highlights show, is expected to air on Quibi at the platform’s scheduled launch in April. The show will be part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials, programming that Mr. Katzenberg and his team are betting will be the kind of thing young viewers will want to watch on their phones.

“Daily Essentials is setting out to take information and organize it, specially produce it, curate it and make it convenient,” Mr. Katzenberg said. “We’ve gone to the best talent, the best brands to commission them to do this in a unique, new way.”

ESPN already has a streaming service, ESPN Plus, which started in April 2018. The partnership with Quibi is a piece of ESPN’s overall mobile strategy, which has the programmer developing content for Facebook, Instagram, Snap and Twitter, among others.

“If there is an audience building around a sports conversation and looking for sports content, we want to be there, we want to lead that,” Connor Schell, executive vice president of content for ESPN, said. “We think Quibi is a natural extension of that.”

Under the deal, Quibi pays ESPN to create the show. ESPN, which will retain ownership of it, will then license it back to Quibi.

With the ESPN show still in development, Mr. Schell said he couldn’t share details of what the five- to seven-minute episodes would look like. The company is hiring a team to create it while also looking for a host or two, he said.

Mr. Katzenberg, along with the Quibi chief executive and co-founder Meg Whitman, the former head of Hewlett-Packard and eBay, have raised an estimated $1 billion for the project from Disney, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Strategic partners include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Global. The Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group is also an investor.

And the pair have signed on a slew of collaborators to test Mr. Katzenberg’s hypothesis that the future of entertainment will be streamed on phone screens. The directors Steven Spielberg, Antoine Fuqua and Steven Soderbergh are among those who have agreed to produce scripted shows lasting no longer than 10 minutes for Quibi, which is short for “quick bites.”

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