Streaming Service Caters to the Curious

CuriosityStream is designed for viewers of all ages interested in everything.

By David Isaac

It was an inspiring moment. Juno, a NASA orbiter launched five years earlier, successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4 after a 1.75 billion-mile journey from earth. When it came to getting up to speed with Juno’s achievement, subscribers to CuriosityStream likely had a leg up on the rest of us. The new streaming service, which debuted last year, featured an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the mission in the original documentary Destination: Jupiter.

CuriosityStream is the world’s first ad-free documentary service. It has been gaining ground and garnering members thanks to its impressive high-quality content, which can best be described as "enriching." Currently, the service offers over 1,500 videos dedicated to a broad array of topics, from ancient civilization to nature to technology to space.

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"We cover almost every imaginable undertaking you can think of," CuriosityStream COO Peter North told Techwalla. “It’s for the innately curious who want to learn more about the world and better understand everything going on in the universe around them.” In short, it’s for people who are interested in everything.

CuriosityStream takes a broad, multiplatform approach to making its content available, as one might expect from a service whose diverse content ranges from documentaries on futuristic technologies like robotics to an original series hosted by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. You can use the service on just about every major device. It has a Roku channel, and it’s on Apple TV and a host of other devices. Many members watch the service’s offerings on more than one device, North says, starting on Roku and continuing on a smartphone, for example. "One of the strengths of CuriosityStream is we’re not constrained by television schedules and we don’t have to intersperse ad breaks in our films. Our filmmakers love it, and our members love it," North said.

Another thing that stands out about CuriosityStream is the high production values of its videos. North gives credit to Steve Burns, who handles the content side of things. "Our library consists entirely of gems," North said. “We have really vetted and carefully selected each and every film.”

One of the most popular films to date is Destination: Jupiter, produced in partnership with the production company Arrow Media. "Science is one of our most popular subject areas," North said, “and within that, space travel is one of our standouts.”

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Juno approaches the fifth planet from the sun in the documentary "Destination: Jupiter."

CuriosityStream, like most on-demand video services, uses a recommendation engine to offer suggestions based on your viewing preferences. COO North says that the sole criterion the engine weighs is what you’ve watched. He notes that other services may have other criteria and interests in mind, but CuriosityStream is concerned only with finding topics of interest to its individual members. The recommendation engine will "often recommend two or three films that you’ll want to watch after you see the first. It is a very carefully and highly curated library of films," North said.

CuriosityStream’s website features free 2-minute previews of most of its films, providing insight into the type and quality of the content it offers. The service is also promoting a one-month free membership for anyone who wants to try it out. North says that most people who "take us up on our free trial become full-fledged members." The service offers three levels of membership, based on the streaming quality: Basic (Standard Definition) is $2.99 a month; Standard (High Definition) is $5.99 a month; and Premium (4K Ultra High Definition) is $11.99 a month.

CuriosityStream boasts a strong pedigree, as it was created by Discovery Communications founder and former chairman John Hendricks.

Photo credits: CuriosityStream