Executives at Quibi, a mobile-first short-form video streaming start-up, hailed better-than-expected downloads in its opening week, after it racked up more than 1 million installations in North America following its launch on 6 April.

CEO Meg Whitman (pictured) told CNBC downloads hit 1.7 million in the first week, noting the company had concerns its launch in the midst of Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown measures would stymie interest in a service primarily designed to be used while on the move.

Quibi plans to fast track a feature enabling users to view content on a regular TV, she said.

App analytics company Apptopia placed initial downloads a little lower than Quibi itself, at 1.15 million, with 87 per cent in the US and 6 per cent in Canada. There was a broadly even split between iOS and Android users, it noted.

VP of Insights Adam Blacker noted the downloads are a fraction of the 12.5 million enjoyed by Disney+ when it launched in November 2019, but explained Quibi is a new brand offering a unique format and titles. Most rivals, he noted, are established names offering more mainstream content.

Quibi was unveiled by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a former chairman of Walt Disney Studios, during CES 2020. Its play is offering short-form videos lasting up to ten-minutes, designed specifically for mobile devices. Initially available free on a 90-day trial, it will then cost $4.99 per month for an advert-supported model, or $7.99 ad free.

A key selling point is a set-up enabling videos to automatically shift from landscape to portrait mode (and vice-versa), though this landed Quibi in hot water after specialist Eko accused the company of patent infringement.