Category : Human Spirit

Marking A Milestone

Today marks CuriosityStream’s first anniversary!

My father [Discovery Channel founder, John Hendricks] debuted the world’s first ad-free, nonfiction streaming service on March 18, 2015 and ever since, our small, hardworking team has been quite busy.  We have licensed or personally produced over 1,300 programs (more than 500 hours of quality, nonfiction documentaries) and launched streaming apps across RokuChromecastAmazon Fire TVAndroid TV as well as Android and iOS.  In late September, the service went global, opening access to CuriosityStream in 196 countries worldwide.  For inquiring minds, we’ve learned that Scandinavia and Australia have been our best international markets to date.  A special shout-out to our Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and Australian members!

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In December, CuriosityStream’s partnership with Amazon distributed our documentaries via Amazon Prime’s SVOD service and our CuriosityStream Gift Cards proved to be popular holiday items and are available 365 days a year.

The early months of this year have seen us introduce a personalized recommendation engine (matching users to each other for smarter program suggestions), debut another 30 hours of outstanding documentaries and incorporate a discounted pricing structure.  Now members may save 16% a year by switching to an Annual Plan; visit Your Account page to make this change to an existing subscription.  Our Sign Up page also features this discounted payment option for 12 months of service.

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I couldn’t be more proud of our dedicated team of talented producers, brilliant engineers and a host of other consummate professionals that continue to refine the world’s leading online, nonfiction destination.

With our direct membership model, CuriosityStream may exhibit quality, ad-free documentaries exclusively for lifelong learners.  This leaves the service unencumbered by the interests of advertisers, a concern that sways programming away from the rich depth of scientific and intellectual inquiry.  By remaining ad-free, CuriosityStream preserves a simplicity of purpose: deliver affordable content that enriches, enlightens, enchants and thereby empowers curious humans to better understand our world.

Thank you so much for your support in this first year.  Stay tuned and stay curious!

EHN signature

Elizabeth Hendricks North is the President & CEO of CuriosityStream. Follow her on Twitter @ehendricksnorth.

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Happy New Year!

Or, translated in Mandarin: Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, the Asian country’s most important holiday. The first day of the year is determined by the lunar Chinese calendar, so the date changes, but it always falls between the end of January and mid-February.  The celebration is centered around the home and family, and its traditions are honored in the hopes of good health and fortune for the coming year.

Each Chinese New Year is characterized by one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.  2016 is the year of the red monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. If you are born in the year of the red “fire” monkey, you are said to be ambitious and adventurous, intelligent and clever.  But there’s also your mischievous side, and your quick temper, too, much like your namesake.

You might also be wise to keep in mind a few of the Chinese New Year beliefs.

-Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will be sick for the entire year.

-Make sure you ignore the urge to clean house today.  Sweeping on the first day means your wealth will be swept away, too.

-And be sure to keep the kids happy today. The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family.

Dive deep into the rich history of the world’s most populous country and learn more about its distinct culture with CuriosityStream.  Explore China’s greatest monument with our 2 part series China’s Great Wall.  And travel back in time to meet the rulers, rebels and renegades who laid the foundation of China’s preeminent city in Beijing: Biography of an Imperial Capital.  Here’s a preview of our 3 part series:

 

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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#CuriosityTravels


I hope you’re enjoying a great start to 2016!

This past year has been quite a busy one for CuriosityStream and our small, hardworking team.  In the nine months since our debut on March 18, 2015, we’ve launched apps across Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Android and iOS.  As well, our partnership with Amazon enabled CuriosityStream’s library to become available to Amazon Prime members via Amazon’s SVOD service.  Lastly, in late September, CuriosityStream went global with our content to allow worldwide access to outstanding science, technology, history and nature documentaries.

Importantly, our global library allows CuriosityStream subscribers to watch our nonfiction programs from anywhere in the world.  I had the incredible experience of speaking in Italy recently, where I could watch CuriosityStream when my Netflix account was unavailable.  If you have upcoming travels, make sure to try us out and use the hashtag #curiositytravels to keep us informed of your experience.

In 2016, CuriosityStream looks forward to enhancing our recommendation engine, adding closed captions, offering annual plans and debuting 4K.  We can’t wait to share over 50 hours of 4K content in early spring, kicking off the launch with the premiere of our exclusive production, Big Picture Earth.  Crafted by the same filmmaker behind Discovery HD’s hit series, Sunrise Earth, CuriosityStream’s Big Picture Earth will take viewers on a 4K journey to twenty of the most spectacular locations in the world, including Stonehenge, the Acropolis, and Petra.

For now, I highly recommend our Curious Minds: The Future with Peter Diamandis as well as a few other forward-thinking programs: Catalyst: Quantum Computing, Next World: The Future with Michio Kaku, and Science Shorts.  Stay curious!

 

Best,

EHN signature

Elizabeth Hendricks North is President of CuriosityStream. Follow her on Twitter @ehendricksnorth.

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9/11 : Never Forget

Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward and freedom will be defended.   

                                                                 President George W. Bush | September 11th, 2001

 

14 years ago, a day that changed a city, a nation, and world forever.

Americans will forever spend 9/11 remembering where they were, what they saw, and how they felt in those first hours of that beautiful sunny day that turned dark in an instant. The worst terrorist attack in American history took nearly 3000 lives, created a void that could never be filled, yet inspired a nation to come together in ways like never before.

To pay tribute to the victims who died, and to honor the courageous responders who worked tirelessly following the attack, the United States Congress designated September 11th as Patriot Day. It is a National Day of Service and Remembrance, when every American is encouraged to do at least one good deed on 9/11, to honor all that was lost that day.

On this Patriot Day, CuriosityStream offers a not only a way to explore the history of history of the conflict, but also a way to celebrate all the things that are uniquely American.

Holy War | ZDFE
This 5 episode documentary explores the history of armed struggles between the East and West in the name of God, that affect life in the 21st Century.  Here is a preview:

 

Also:

Curious Minds: the Middle East
This collection brings you insight from our CuriosityStream experts on the factors that will shape the emerging Middle East of the 21st Century.

Curiosity Retreats Lectures: The Middle East and Global Security
Curiosity Retreat luminary Ambassador Henry Crumpton is a veteran CIA operative with experience on the front lines of America’s initial campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Hear his insight on the paradigm shift caused by the increased role of non-state actors in the Middle East and other issues facing that region and the world.

And to celebrate the moments in our history that make America what it is today:

Curiosity Retreats Lectures: The Art of Discovery
Curiosity Retreat luminary and master historian David McCullough narrates the history and character of America like no other. Watch as he tells the tale of the 2 courageous Americans who taught the world to fly.

Curious Minds: American History
This collection takes a deeper look into prominent figures in U.S. history, including little known stories about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

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5 Fascinating Moments From The 2015 Curiosity Retreat

  1. David McCullough’s inspiring story of discovery, curiosity, genius, and sense of purpose. The master historian told the story of Orville and Wilbur Wright. But this was more than a timeline of the brothers’ great invention and the birth of aviation. We all covered that back in history class. This was the story of personal drive, commitment, family and an intellectual curiosity that never relented. And when the incomparable David McCullough told the story, it became about more than the Wright Brothers. It was an inspiring message of innovation, teamwork, and personal character that we can all strive for in every aspect of our lives.
  1. Dr. Brian Greene, illuminating what we know and still don’t know about the nature of our own reality. Particles, waves, probability – these are the core elements of quantum mechanics, as explained to us by the renown physicist. Dr. Greene’s animations allowed us all to understand the complex theories as a physicist would. We visualized how these important waves of probability would combine, or coalesce, and how the particles that make up our universe act like these waves. But how do we go from the spread out waves of probability to the definite reality of our experience? That is the puzzle, he says, and in his own words, the mystery is exciting, frightening, thrilling. But Dr. Greene is working on solving it.
  1. A grammar lesson, of sorts, from political theorist Dr. Danielle Allen. In particular, the misplacement of a very important period. You know the beginning of the second sentence from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” There is it is, our guarantee of these profoundly American rights and ideals. But Dr. Allen argued the sentence doesn’t end there. A misplaced period in the very first ever printing of the document led to a significant misinterpretation. Dr. Allen theorized that our nation’s founders put equal importance on our individual rights as well as our responsibility to create good government that ensures the rights of everyone. The document is 1,337 words, and Dr. Allen challenged us to read every one of them. Our summer reading assignment from the Harvard Professor.
  1. Rick Smolan, boggling our minds with facts such as these: More pictures have been taken in the last 2 months than since the dawn of photography. And our 15th century ancestors experienced the same amount of information in their entire lifetimes as we do now in one single day. The revolution of big data is here. Smolan, a journalist and photographer, focused his lens on the technologies that impact our daily lives, and their impact on our privacy, and our future — from marketing strategies to lure shoppers into big box stores to crisis response in disaster zones. Smolan described the explosion of data as helping our planet grow a nervous system with each of us evolving into human sensors. For better or worse is yet to be decided.
  1. Dr. Art Benjamin, the amazing Mathemagician, calculating the square of 97,437. In his head. Without a calculator. You try it. Enough said!

Our 2015 Curiosity Retreat guests also heard deep dives from several other Luminaries on topics such as The Creative Brain, Conscious Capitalism, and The Wonders of Our Oceans. All of our 2015 Curiosity Retreat lectures are available now on CuriosityStream. What will you find fascinating?

Vanessa Gillon

Coordinating Producer, CuriosityStream

 

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Celebrating the Pluto Flyby!

A team from CuriosityStream witnessed the historic moment of the Pluto Flyby!

“The Pluto mission is a human endeavor” said Alan Stern, as the crowd at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory patiently awaited the highly anticipated flyby of New Horizons by Pluto on the morning of July 14th, 2015 just minutes before 8:00am.

The big lit screens gave the count, five minutes away and everybody was standing by; American flags in hand, we saw media, scientists, mission team members and international visitors come together for Pluto’s final reveal and well deserved comeback. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, joined the enthusiastic group to the side of the stage, as the buzz starting growing. Multiple electronic devices on hand, cameramen filming on their mobiles and video equipment simultaneously, and a man three seats down surprised that the picture he sent had just reached the other side of the world “I just sent this to Australia!” he exclaimed looking at his screen. There was even a replica of the New Horizons probe turned into a hat that was passed around among some lucky heads.

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Before we could even realize it, the countdown had started. Nervous eyes scanned the room looking for a sense of understanding of what was about to take place. Alan Stern and New Horizons team members encouraged everybody to join in — “Make sure they can hear us all over the world!”. A countdown like no other; actually, one of the best countdowns you could ever witness. Far beyond the hype of New Year’s and watching fireworks in the sky, this was it: a once in a lifetime event, for all the talented individuals from the New Horizons, NASA, and JPL teams, that took nine years of continuous monitoring and a very long waiting period.

And so it went, from 10 down to the last second, the hundreds of people gathered for the early morning event loudly raised their voices as they experienced history in the making. This time, there were no pictures, no live transmission on screen, no man floating down the iconic stairs or a spacecraft roughly landing on a red planet. As invisible and low key as the Pluto flyby was, it was also a collective mind-blowing understanding of how far we have come – the final frontier of our solar system has now been explored. And as a lonely probe continues to fly into the unknown beyond Pluto and onto the Kuiper Belt, we are certain that we can now welcome a new chapter of space exploration and the next set of discoveries — lead, as always, by the curious ones.

Laura Santana

Marketing and Production

Relive the excitement of July 14th, 2015!

 

 

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Welcome to CuriosityStream!

CuriosityStream is officially more than two months old! I’m delighted to report that more and more people each day find that we are the best place to satisfy their curiosity about our world.

Recently, I’ve been traveling the world talking to filmmakers and producers about CuriosityStream. From MIPDoc in Cannes to INPUT in Tokyo, most everyone I’ve spoken to has shared an interest in our new home for quality informative documentaries and series. We continue to refine CuriosityStream so that subscribers can explore a new and fascinating area or idea each and every day.

Navigation

It takes a great team to find captivating content and to create the platform to share that media. It also requires a vision for organizing and presenting it to you, the viewer. At CuriosityStream, we’ve known from the start that people don’t find documentaries or factual programs by titles. They find content by searching areas and topics of interest. We’ve built CuriosityStream to do that curation work for you up front, by tagging shows thoughtfully and thoroughly by topic and many multi-sub-topic areas. This work is invisible to our members, but it enables them to easily use the top menu bar to select one of our many sub-topics, from Genetics to Artificial Intelligence to Philosophy. Often programs satisfy multiple areas of interest, so our system delivers unique and compelling recommendations to feed your singular curiosities. Perhaps watching our BBC series Vikings leads to a recommendation to learn more about another of England’s conquerors, William the Conqueror. Or perhaps your curiosity about Pluto leads you to learn about the difference between asteroids and comets. We dive deep into the science with the astronomers from the Lowell Observatory. Did you know it was Lowell Observatory that ultimately named the dwarf planet Pluto, discovered by Percival Lowell in 1930?

With CuriosityStream, we are also experimenting with new types of entertaining yet informative media. Our Curiosity Retreat Lectures (filmed at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa at our annual Curiosity Retreats) provide expert deep dives into topics as diverse as the future of nanotechnology to understanding the Middle East. And in our Curiosity Studio, we interview world-renowned experts on a dazzling array of topics. These interviews are produced with compelling visuals and form the basis of our Curious Minds series… making topics like quantum computing more accessible. Try it yourself: I bet you will be able to describe a qubit to a friend after watching our Curious Minds: Quantum Computing series with Chris Monroe.

With so much to explore, I can only hope you take time to enjoy your own personal journey of curiosity.

Best,

Elizabeth Hendricks North
President | CuriosityStream

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