Category : Platform Updates

CuriosityStream Wins An Emmy

2017 has been a big year for streaming services.  Following epic wins for Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix at this year’s Primetime Emmys, CuriosityStream picked up its first Emmy award at the News and Documentary Emmys for Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places (Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction).  Our factual streaming service was also honored with two other category nominations for another CuriosityStream Original, David Attenborough’s Light On Earth.

 

The idea for the Stephen Hawking film arose back in April of 2015 over coffee with Bigger Bang producers, Ben Bowie and Iain Riddick, outside of CuriosityStream’s first MIPCOM in Cannes, France.  They pitched my husband Peter North (Chief Operating Officer), Steve Burns (Chief Programming Officer) and me about a fantastical journey through the cosmos with Ben’s friend, Stephen Hawking.  We knew the idea had potential and a few months later in London, we officially signed CuriosityStream on to fully commission the film.  I remember hesitating over the heavy use of CGI and special effects (which can be costly and sometimes may disappoint) but a revered host like Stephen Hawking, who we already knew our audience searches for, paired with an accessible concept like “Top 10 Travel Destinations,” was sure to resonate.  Of particular appeal was when Ben shared that it would all end up in Santa Barbara, which was really Stephen’s favorite spot on planet Earth and of course the cosmos.

When I finally had the chance to preview the first rough cut of the film, I was completely astounded by the level of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) that Ben, Iain and their team at Bigger Bang had produced.  It looked so much like Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, one of my favorite science programs featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  Yet here was Stephen Hawking touring the Universe in his own S.S. Hawking spacecraft, taking viewers on a wondrous journey from the known world’s inception to showcasing the majesty of Saturn’s rings to the potential habitable life on Gliese 832C.  As a sci-fi fan from an early age, Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places was everything I’d ever hoped it could be.

Peter North (COO of CuriosityStream), Ben Bowie (Co-founder of Bigger Bang TV) and Elizabeth Hendricks North (CEO of CuriosityStream)

 

Obviously, I’m thrilled by this Emmy recognition for CuriosityStream but more importantly, it is exciting to imagine what this means for the industry at large.  The economics of the streaming television revolution enable viewers to ‘sponsor’ directly the programming they want to see.  We’ve witnessed with the successes of HBO, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and CuriosityStream that this sponsorship is unleashing quality content like we’ve never seen before.  CuriosityStream’s first Emmy award for Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places (of which we have a Part 2 and 3 coming soon) is following this wave of outstanding programming supported directly by the viewer.

Most importantly of all, I want to express my heartfelt thank you to the incomparable Stephen Hawking for sharing your favorite places with CuriosityStream.  This program and its Emmy win would not have been possible without you and your vision of the indelible impressions worth sightseeing across the cosmos.

I look forward to CuriosityStream continuing its leadership role in the future of quality factual television, with the S.S. Hawking leading the way!

Best,

Elizabeth Hendricks North
CEO, CuriosityStream
@ehendricksnorth

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Celebrating Two Years of Curiosity

Two years ago today, we launched CuriosityStream under the leadership of my father, John Hendricks (Discovery Channel Founder & Former Chairman).  Since its debut on March 18, 2015, CuriosityStream has evolved into the premiere destination for quality, factual programming in 196 countries worldwide.  I am delighted to share these anniversary accomplishments with you, our fellow curious minds.

In the SVOD universe, content is king and CuriosityStream has some of the best science, nature, history and technology programs available anytime and anywhere.  Our subscribers have gravitated toward the more in-depth programming, in contrast to the trends we see in linear television.  While nonfiction documentaries about space and physics topics are hard to come by on broadcast and cable television, CuriosityStream subscribers have ready access to top performing CuriosityStream Originals like Deep Time HistoryDigitsPrescription: Nutrition, Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places and many more.  In the years to come, we will continue to invest in quality, original productions that will ensure CuriosityStream remains the world’s top streaming destination for on-demand documentaries.

Over the past year, our library has grown to over 1,700 titles and our focus on original content has taken some incredible strides.

Exclusive CuriosityStream Originals debuting on the service in 2017 include the science series Ancient Earth, available now, about extinction events in Earth’s history, as well as the space exploration special, Miniverse, coming in April, where viewers will tour a version of the Solar System scaled down to the size of the continental U.S., hosted by astronaut Chris Hadfield and featuring guest Michio Kaku.  Later in the year, look forward to new episodes from our hit special Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, which debuted in September 2016, and the groundbreaking search for life on exoplanets in Living Universe.  These are just a few of the titles our busy team currently has in production.

We have also made significant advancements in CuriosityStream’s platform design and function, based largely on what we’ve heard from you, our very valued subscribers.

  • Our interface design has been completely overhauled and replaced with a sleek back-end and front-end system that makes it easier for you to find the content you love.
  • Our new rating system and recommendation engine provide a smooth process for sourcing the best documentaries, geared specifically for each member.
  • We have layered our API into a CDN (Content Distribution Network) that serves content much more quickly and efficiently, enabling CuriosityStream to deliver some of the world’s best HD and 4K documentaries cost-effectively, keeping monthly and annual plans affordable to our members.
  • On the accessibility front, we recently launched CuriosityStream on Xbox One and have imminent app releases set for LG, Sony and Samsung Smart TVs in Spring and Summer of 2017, adding to our existing availability on Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Android, iOS, mobile and desktop.

With all of the progress and innovation achieved over the past two years, we have never lost our curiosity about the world around us. We know that you share our belief that curiosity is the lifelong driving force that fuels our passion to learn, create, understand and explore. As we move forward together on a journey to better comprehend our Universe, our civilization and ourselves, I want to personally thank you, our “curious at heart” subscribers.

With your support, this new quality revolution in television is now a reality.

Cheers,

Elizabeth Hendricks North

President & CEO, CuriosityStream

 

Follow me on Twitter @ehendricksnorth

 

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Stay curious in 2017

Happy New Year!

Part and parcel with a new year arrives both reflection on the past and excitement (hopefully) toward the future.  Here at CuriosityStream, we are very much looking forward to 2017 and to helping you become more curious about the many wonders in science, technology, history and nature.  Our team has been hard at work over the holidays putting together a release schedule of original and exclusive titles debuting on CuriosityStream over the next few months.  Take a look at some highlights below and stay tuned for their official premiere dates.

 

January 2017

New year, new you!  Hosted by Dr. Michael Greger, MD, author of the New York Times best-seller How Not to Die and editor of the world renowned website NutritionFacts.org, explore the dramatic health benefits of plant-based diets and the amazing revolution in how we approach our relationship with food.  New episodes will be released bi-weekly beginning in early January.

February 2017

Travel back in time to visit the three most powerful extinction events in Earth’s history.  This original series explores the major events that wiped out between 70-90% of Earth’s species developed during the Permian, Triassic and Cretaceous periods.

March 2017

Join former astronaut Chris Hadfield – a YouTube sensation for his performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station – along with hitchhikers Michio Kaku and more on a joyride across our Solar System, scaled down to the size of the continental United States.

April 2017

You will be captivated by this epic story of our origins told through the story of one extended family.  This group of men, women, and children are your guide to over 15 million years of human history, including the trials, drama and joys of being human across the ages.

May 2017

Can a team of scientists reveal unknown chambers in the Great Pyramid using special muon detector plates beneath the pyramid?  In this expedition, experts use high-tech drones, thermal cameras, laser scanning to create a 3D map of inside and out of the famous Giza plateau tombs.

Stay curious!

Cheers,

Elizabeth Hendricks North
President & CEO, CuriosityStream

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

 

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Top 10 Curious Moments of 2016

As we look back on 2016, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for being a part of our curious community.  This past year has been monumental for science and technology and CuriosityStream been there every step of the way with documentaries that explore key moments in science, history, space, technology, nature and the human spirit.

Journey down memory lane by binge-watching our top 10 curious moments of the year.  Who knows what 2017 will have in store?

               

               

               

               

               

 

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All I want for Christmas is…to stay curious!

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was a change-making year, to say the least.  I, for one, learned a lot and am anxious to see what 2017 has in store.  In a year filled with controversy, new beginnings, tragedy, joy, milestones and re-writing history, one thing binds it all together: curiosity.  As the son of an engineer and a costume designer and uncle to three growing boys – all of whom embody curiosity and creativity – I can’t wait to spread some holiday cheer this year in the form of CuriosityStream gift cards.  This year, we have introduced digital gift cards available here, as well as hard copies available on Amazon.com.  The best part is that annual subscriptions add up to a 16% savings over the course of the year as opposed to monthly plans – something to keep in mind for all of you existing monthly subscribers who might be interested in upgrading in the new year!

I hope you will join me this holiday season by giving the gift of curiosity.  After all, no one should be curious alone.

Here I am staying curious with my nephew on a fall day after watching a ton of documentaries!

Happy Holidays from all of us at CuriosityStream!

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Welcome to the new and improved CuriosityStream!

Today, we’re delighted to unveil months of hard work rebuilding CuriosityStream into its 2.0 version.  CuriosityStream has grown big very quickly, and so we’ve invested heavily into creating a new refined platform to handle a larger audience.  After putting our customers’ requests at the forefront of new design, we’re delighted to share the functional improvements to our service.

Ratings

We completely overhauled our ratings system, resulting in a much more descriptive display of user behavior.  Our star ratings have been replaced by a percentage-based approach that allows for a more nuanced understanding of a program’s popularity.

Ratings

 

Collections

Hand curated collections from our Chief Programming Officer, and former head of the Science Channel, Steve Burns, have been assembled to help CuriosityStream members find the best topic-oriented documentaries all in one place.  Docu-bingers delight!

Collections

HTML5 Player

Our new video player loads content faster so that buffering is greatly reduced or eliminated completely.  We’ve switched to using HTML5 as the primary player and you’ll only see our Flash player as a fallback.

player

Up Next Queue

What’s next?  Keep your hands off the keyboard and remote.  We’ll move you along automatically to the next episode in the series or the next recommended selection after you’ve finished watching your documentary.

ratings

Explore Similar Shows with Tagging

Our in-house media experts have tagged our entire library with descriptive language to help you find similar content.

Tags

 

Whew, that’s not all.  “Bookmarks” have been renamed as “Watchlist,” and we now have on-screen bookmarking available.  There is also a bevy of other changes you’ll find as you use our refreshed platform.

 

Things we’re adding back in:

Captions Support – Captions currently work in Safari, iPhones and Android.

Gift Card checkout – Currently, we’re letting Amazon do the heavy lifting.  Snag one of our gift cards on Amazon now and stay one step ahead of the holidays!

Did we miss anything?  Don’t worry.  If there are any features you feel missed this 2.0 version, let us know!  Drop us a line feedback@curiositystream.com

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