CuriosityStream Looks Ahead

(Image credit: CuriosityStream)

With its first quarterly period as a public company behind it, CuriosityStream expects to nearly double its revenue in 2021, fueled by continued strong subscriber growth.

CuriosityStream went public on Oct. 15, shortly after closing a merger with Special Purpose Acquisitions Company (SPAC) Software Acquisitions Group that valued the fact-based streamer at about $331 million. 

Q3 revenue nearly doubled to $8.7 million from $4.8 million in the prior year and total subscribers more than doubled to 13 million, from about 6 million in the same period last year. EBITDA losses also improved, from a loss of $10 million in Q3 2019 to a loss of $6.7 million. The company expects the momentum to continue through 2021, predicting that full year 2020 revenue will double to $39.1 million and nearly double again to at least $71 million in 2021. Fueling that growth will be continued subscriber gains, particularly in the international markets, CuriosityStream CEO Clint Stinchcomb said in an interview. 

Related: Just the Facts at CuriosityStream

Stinchcomb said that CuriosityStream is growing on both the direct-to-consumer and third party distribution side. And he was encouraged by streaming rival Disney Plus’s strong fiscal Q4 additions (about 16 million new subscribers in the quarter, many of them from Indian distributor Hotstar), a sign that international markets continue to have growth potential.  

“Look at the number of subscribers they [Disney Plus] has with Hotstar, with Verizon,” Stinchcomb said. “Thoughtful bundling is really a big key to success. It’s one strategy we see helping us get, over time, to hundreds of millions of global paying subscribers.” 

Earlier this month CuriosityStream landed a deal with Tata Sky, where its service will be bundled with India’s largest pay TV distributor’s on demand and linear offerings. 

Also helping to boost overall subscriber rolls will be a concerted marketing push, funded in large part by the money raised through the SAG merger. Stinchcomb said fourth quarter marketing initiatives will be focused on the U.S., expanding internationally next year.  

Domestic efforts will utilize traditional avenues as well as social media like Facebook and YouTube. Stinchomb added that CuriosityStream already markets through a number of YouTube influencers in the broader education enrichment space.

“You’ll see us do more of that,” he said. “We’ll also do more awareness promotion. We are doing TV, you’ll hear our spots on radio, audio streaming. We’ll be everywhere.”

The marketing message will hone in on the low cost of the service -- at $2.99 per month or $19.99 for a full year, it is one of the lowest priced streaming offerings available -- and content. CuriosityStream’s current library has about 3,000 titles and it continues to add more, like My Wild Backyard, the third season of 4th and Forever, Doug to the Rescue and Nature Through Her Eyes. On Nov. 19 it is scheduled to air the world premier of another original series, Beyond the Spotlight from executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio and Appian Way Productions and Stephen David Entertainment.

Most customers are recognizing that value -- Stinchcomb said between 70% and 80% of its customers opt for the full year package -- which helps reduce churn.  

“That [the annual price] is what we used to pay for a DVD, and you get 3,000-plus titles,” Stinchcomb said. “Unlike many other streaming services, we eliminated our free trial at the beginning of the year. At 20 bucks a year, we’re not a risky decision.”

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.