CuriosityStream is the latest subscription Internet TV service to hit the Web. The project is from John Hendricks, the Discovery Channel founder and former Discovery Communications chair. The service, which will debut March 18, 2015 around the world, will offer “premium factual content” – ie documentaries and educational videos – in HD and UHD resolutions.
“I have long dreamed of a content-on-demand service that uses advanced media to empower the enduring human desire to understand the Universe and the world around us,” Hendricks said. “The advent of online streaming technology utilized by Netflix and other successful video streaming services has created a video transmission infrastructure that finally allows viewers to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.”
CuriosityStream is best described then as a niche OTT service. “CuriosityStream is the world’s first ad-free, SVoD service that addresses our lifelong quest to learn, explore, and understand,” Hendricks said. “Our aim is to provide the first and best on-demand video streaming destination that aggregates and curates the world’s best factual content.”
See a sneak peak of the service here: http://www.curiositystream.com/#/previews
The service is run by pay TV veterans. Hendricks, who was one of the first to launch nonfiction pay TV channels, only just retired from his position as chairman of Discovery Communications last year. Another TV veteran and documentary producer, Steve Burns, will head up programming for the OTT service. Burns served as EVP for Global Content at National Geographic Channels worldwide, Chief Science Editor at Discovery Networks and GM of the Science Channel.
The OTT service will be available on PCs, mobile devices, Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. The service will offer UHD content but the company didn’t specify on which UHD TV sets viewers will able to stream CuriosityStream, nor what speeds of broadband subscribers will need to view UHD titles.
CuriosityStream: aiming to attract millions of TV viewers
The service follows a unique pricing model that follows four resolution options: a $2.99 monthly fee for SD video, $3.99 for 720p, $5.99 for 1080p and $9.99 for UHD/4K resolution.
CuriosityStream is hoping to attract both pay TV subs and cord cutters or cord nevers. The service will appeal to about a quarter of the TV viewing population. Hendricks told the Wall Street Journal he’s hoping to reach 5 to 7 million subscribers in the first five years.
The service will have 800 video titles at launch, and about a third of its library will be original productions. The content selections are tailored to take advantage of a range of devices and resolutions. CuriosityStream will offer titles from the leading nonfiction content producer, such as ZED, Flame Distribution, Terra Noa, Japan’s NHK and BBC Worldwide. Titles include: “The Twilight of Civilizations,” “Age of Robots,” and “Men and Machines that Beat Hitler.”
The service will offer a handful of original productions, exclusive to CuriosityStream subscribers, that includes:
– “Big Picture Earth,” a 20-part 4K series that will be produced by David Conover, who also produced Discovery’s “Sunrise Earth.” The new series will “will capture some of the world’s most magnificent visual wonders,” in 4K resolution.
-“Deep Time History,” a historical series that “traces the great people and events of history, while also revealing the geologic and geographic underpinnings of these events and epochs.”
-“Digits,” a series focused on the history of computers and the Internet, and will “consider the far distant possibilities of quantum computing, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.”
Its original content will appear exclusively on the streaming service for a period before being licensed out to pay TV networks.
The service will also offer short-form videos of less than eight minutes, on a wide range of topics. Richard Sergay, former ABC News producer, will be the interview host in a range of interview videos. “A Curious World” is a short-form digital series on “everything from ancient engineering feats to the workings of our sleep cycles”; and “Destination Pluto,” which will focus on the New Horizon space mission which will pass Pluto in summer of 2015; a series of artist interviews with photographer Norman Seeff on creativity; and a Deepak Chopra interview series.
“We have designed CuriosityStream from the ground up as a …
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