Spielberg pens a horror series viewable only when dark

CUPERTINO, CA - MARCH 25: Filmmaker Steven Spielberg speaks during an Apple product launch event at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park on March 25, 2019 in Cupertino, California. Apple announced the launch of it's new video streaming service, unveiled a premium subscription tier to its News app, and announced it would release its own credit card, called Apple Card. (Photo by Michael Short/Getty Images)

Legendary Hollywood film-maker and director Steven Spielberg is said to be writing a horror series for the mobile screen that will stream to the device only after sunset.

The series aptly titled ‘After Dark’ will extend over 10 to 12 episodes exclusively on Quibi (short for ‘Quick Bites’), a planned platform dedicated to short-form video, created by former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and former HP CEO Meg Whitman. Spielberg has already written “five or six episodes,” Katzenberg announced at the recent Banff World Media Festival in Canada.

Since Spielberg wanted the show to only be available at night, Quibi’s engineering team came up with a new way to deliver each episode. Using the internal clock on a subscriber’s phone, Quibi can tell when the sun is about to set. A clock will appear in the app that will count down until the moment the sun disappears. The episode will be available to watch only then. The series will then disappear from the app until the next night. Think of it as appointment television, but with a new technological twist.

The Spielberg series is just one of the many shows Quibi has announced as part of its launch lineup. The goal is to have 125 pieces of content a week, both short films and TV shows, which works out about 7,000 pieces in year one.

Quibi is one of the stranger streaming services set to launch within the next 12 months. WarnerMedia, Disney, NBC Universal, and Viacom are all launching their own form of streaming services. Katzenberg and Whitman have raised more than $1 billion in funding for their short-form project. The idea is to appeal to cord-cutters who want entertainment on the go, but do not want to settle in for a long series like Game of Thrones or a lengthy movie like Avengers: Endgame. Think YouTube, but made by experienced, high-profile filmmakers and TV writers in Katzenberg’s contacts list.

“We’re putting chapters or act breaks that are 7 to 10 minutes long. They are specifically shot to be watched on the go. If you’re 25-35 years old, you get up and you’re on [a smartphone] for over five hours.”

Quibi is set to launch on 6 April, 2020 and will cost $4.99 per month for an ad-supported version, and $7.99 a month for an ad-free version.