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CuriosityStream Guns for Growth

Nearly two years after its beta debut, CuriosityStream is gearing up to hit the accelerator with a multi-faceted, global ad campaign that will aim to scale up subscribers to an SVOD service that’s focused on fact-based programming spanning areas such as science, tech, history and nature.

Following its launch in March 2015, CuriosityStream, has been conducting some “modest” digital advertising and relying on word of mouth, but is now ready to take its promotional activities to that next level as the service is now armed with a growing library of licensed and original programming and an OTT platform to underpin it, John Hendricks, cable programming pioneer and CuriosityStream’s founder, said.  

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CuriosityStream recently launched its first print ad campaign in publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, with the theme that the SVOD service is “the antidote to ‘reality’ TV.” It’s also testing some TV ads on CNN, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV around the theme, "Long Live the Curious."

Watch a 60-second version of it below:

“Television [advertising] will be the real way we’ll scale up,” he said, referring to some initial ads that use the tagline, “Long Live The Curious.” He said the ads being shown on those networks have gotten a good response early on, as CuriosityStream’s programming tends to appeal to “news junkies.”

CuriosityStream will do more testing before it shifts to a larger, global ad campaign.

CuriosityStream has not announced current subscriber figures (notably, 34% of them are millennials), but Hendricks said the goal is to finish 2017 with “close to 1 million” subs.  

And given the global reach that CuriosityStream has and the service’s expected growth rate, Hendricks, who founded Discovery Communications, believes it will have somewhere between 10 million to 20 million subscribers, and possibly more, within about ten years.

Hendricks likewise is confident that consumers are thirsting for an ad-free SVOD service full of documentaries and other factual content that they can’t get from traditional cable channels that claim to be focused on those genres, but have increasingly steered the bulk of their programming toward reality TV shows and series.

“It’s saturating the dial,” he said of reality TV, noting that “there’s a real void in the marketplace” for the fact-based content that his service provides.

Paired with the greater emphasis on promotion and advertising, CuriosityStream will also use a growing library of exclusive content (almost 250 titles so far) and its broad reach (almost 200 countries) to boost its subscriber base, borrowing from a game plan that has proved successful for Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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More detail on CuriosityStream’s subscriber strategy, an update on its distribution discussions with cable operators and other MVPDs, and an update on its pursuit of new platforms, such as virtual reality, will be featured in the Next TV section of the Feb. 20 edition of Broadcasting & Cable.