Discovery Channel founder starts nonfiction streaming video service

Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:01pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Lisa Richwine

(Reuters) - Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks on Wednesday launched a subscription streaming service for fans of science, technology and history, with the goal of dominating the nonfiction category in on-demand, online video.

Hendricks said the ad-free service CuriosityStream fulfilled his long-held desire to deliver programming that people can watch whenever they want. He hopes it will become viewers' third or fourth online video subscription after choices like Netflix Inc and Hulu.

"I've been dreaming and scheming about this for over 20 years," Hendricks said in an interview.

To pursue the project, Hendricks retired in 2014 from Discovery Communications Inc, which operates the Discovery Channel and other networks that are sold in bundles through cable television operators.

"This needs to be independent of the legacy business," he said. "It's really difficult to just break ranks and threaten your existing revenue stream."

CuriosityStream costs $3 a month for standard resolution or $6 a month for high-definition. A sharper-definition option, known as 4K, is planned for later this year.

The service is available in the United States and will expand worldwide over five years.

Like other Internet-delivered video, CuriosityStream will compete for viewers in a sea of online content as networks like Time Warner Inc's HBO and CBS jump into the streaming mix. Apple Inc also is in talks with some broadcasters about an online service, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.   Continued...

Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks sits for a portrait in New York March 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton