Quibi has encountered a wide range of issues since its not-so-stellar premiere in April (a date that we had to double-check, as years have passed since then). We’ve covered the struggle pretty faithfully, both in terms of functionality and basic public relations. But we will say this of the nascent streamer: It has made an effort to address each seemingly preventable issue, even if the solution of sorts arrives months and months later.
Take, for instance, the ability to snap a screenshot of Quibi’s content. For a service that has largely depended on this generation’s relatively unknown preference for watching things on our phones instead of our TV screens, you’d assume that the ability to snap a pic—on of our most popular forms of communication these days—as proof of Quibi’s treasure trove of content would be a priority. But as recently as May, Quibi execs insisted that the platform wouldn’t allow that capability any time soon due to a presumed cocktail of reasons involving copyright and just not wanting its offerings to be the subject of taunting memes. But a lot can certainly happen in two months: Ostensibly more self-aware, Quibi has announced that it will, in fact, allow screenshots. Furthermore, it doesn’t care how often you meanies use the option to poke fun at its programming. In fact, it prefers that you meme its stuff into oblivion, so there.
The word came from Quibi’s chief product officer Tom Conrad, who encouraged everyone to rev up their “meme makers” and prepare to download all the screengrabs our presumably still-grubby hands could muster.
“Mock the Golden Arm with precise photographic evidence,” Conrad tweets seductively, referencing a short-lived topic that briefly tickled Twitter three whole months ago. “Photoshop your own head onto action star [Kevin Hart]!” Whether or not these are things that you actually want to do is hardly the point; it’s more about the fact that you can do them. But as he later notes, we can’t just snap frames of Nicole Richie rapping about veganism the way our grandfathers did ages ago. Instead, Quibi has engineered its own in-app function that grabs the shot for you and allows you to download it. There’s a demo of the new function available and honestly, it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.
The reason for the workaround lies in the DRM—digital rights management—which is a tool that prevents the unlawful replication or distribution of copyright-protected content. In Quibi’s case, DRM management comes in the form of software that turns any attempt to screenshot something into a useless blank square. “The struggle (and it’s real) is as soon as we turn on DRM the OS blocks screenshots,” Conrad explains after firmly stating that they will continue to honor the DRM preferred by Quibi’s creators. “So our engineers came up with this nifty alternative.” Per Conrad, Quibi’s team is still tweaking the design and there’s still a “tiny” number of shows that don’t allow the option at all, but that shouldn’t stop you from re-downloading the app, logging in, paying the $4.99 or $7.99 a month, combing through its library, and grabbing that one reaction shot that you may or may not use for that one perfect, totally hypothetical tweet. Either way, the option is now live, for those of you who still may be clinging to your subscriptions.