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John Hendricks and Clint Stinchcomb on the binge-worthy factual TV newcomer

Headshots of John Hendricks and Clint Stinchcomb
Headshots of John Hendricks and Clint StinchcombJohn Hendricks and Clint Stinchcomb are the facility behind the CuriosityStream curtain. Pic credit score: CuriosityStream

CuriosityStream introduced for the primary time on Saturday on the Tv Critics Affiliation’s 2019 Winter Press Tour, and by all accounts, it’s a brand new community that goals to steal Netflix’s and just about everybody’s “simply the information” thunder.

Founder John Hendricks is not any programming rookie, his imaginative and prescient and steering for the behemoth Discovery and all its community spawn [TLC, Science Channel, ID and more] nonetheless dominate the cable tv area.

Hendricks has each intention of turning into the alpha and omega pressure in all issues factual, from documentaries to the approaching slate of stories evaluation exhibits and the resurrection of basic docs in sheer quantity and of the utmost high quality.

In any case, it’s not this famend cable cowboy’s first televised rodeo.

On first look, the standard abounds as this award-winning streaming and on-demand vacation spot is now in heavy advert rotation and is pushing onerous for individuals to find (pun meant) and enroll by way of their Roku, Apple TV and different streaming units.

The documentary style has ramped up in quantity dramatically within the final thirty odd years, documenting our numerous human story and experiences, previous and current.

Lesser recognized tales, occupational deep dives, sports activities victories and defeats, biology, wildlife, warfare tales, genocide, racial divides, cultural mores and secrets and techniques, oceanic exploration, automotive achievements and area exploration, memoirs and biographies, paranormal science, lore and arcane historic occasions have elevated collective consciousness of who we’re, the place we got here from and the place our future can take us.

Make no mistake that that is Hendricks core mission with CuriosityStream.

So, what can we get with CuriosityStream?  Presently there are 16 collections masking
every little thing from tech to greatest in
science, nature, historical past, know-how, society and way of life.

No real-time information is out there on CuriosityStream but however as revealed in our interview under, a looming unique content material stream of stories exhibits, which can give an opportunity for revered journalists to leap again into the limelight to deep dive into the factual news-making tales of the day, is coming.

We sat down with Founder and Chairman John Hendricks and Clint Stinchcomb, President and CEO of CuriosityStream at the moment on the Tv Critics Affiliation to speak about this daring new enterprise.

Monsters and Critics: CuriosityStream is fascinating to me. How is what you are promoting mannequin and the way are you going to compete with a Netflix that’s gobbling up content material left and proper? I assume that that’s what you’re making an attempt to do as nicely?

John Hendricks: Sure, we take a look at tv and take a look at on demand and this world of streaming, there are 4 massive classes of content material. There’s films and scripted, there’s sports activities, there’s factual, after which there’s common tv leisure.

And so, what we concentrate on is factual, so it’s the entire factual class. And it’s not solely pure historical past and historical past and science, however the entire every part imaginable, even human journey.

Once you do one thing, and that’s your focus, you are likely to do a greater job at it, and it’s like there are lots of networks from like USA Community, TNT and TBS, that do sports activities programming, however ESPN, that’s their focus, and I feel they’ll all the time do it higher.

Once I launched Discovery years in the past in 1985, HBO had an exquisite documentary unit, headed by Sheila Nevins, that did nice work.

And once more, our give attention to factual within the earlier days simply gave us an unlimited benefit once we gained the loyalty from viewers. After which we’re seeing that now with our CuriosityStream subscribers.

The secret is unique content material. And we’ve been at this type of behind the scenes for 4 years.

I knew our first cross was program unique content material, so of our 2,100 titles, over 800 titles are unique.

It’s nonetheless a lot enjoyable. Immediately, when you go to our session, you’ll see a pattern of certainly one of our unique collection Velocity [starring Sean Riley]and it’s so good to see our labors of affection beginning to materialize on the display. As a result of this stuff take from 18 months to 2 years to develop.

We’re making an attempt to ship every part that we will inside 18 months of the beginning of manufacturing, so it’s fairly a problem to try this.

However unique programming and having a constant focus and a mission, you then turn out to be a vacation spot for individuals. And so, we expect Netflix is a vacation spot for scripted and films…

They do have a reasonably spectacular factual menu. They’ve about 75 collection titles. They’ve captured some actually nice programming, they usually’ve received… It sort of broke my coronary heart once I couldn’t get Planet Earth, which is what I created with the BBC means again in 2001 once we began manufacturing.

However we have been capable of go around the globe to accumulate present libraries of nice factual content material, however most significantly, go into unique manufacturing.

M&C: Okay. Somebody has an concept for a documentary. How do they pitch you? How do they go about getting in your radar to current? And I do know that you simply don’t have set programming time restraints. I learn that it could possibly be 17 minutes or two hours, regardless of the imaginative and prescient…

John Hendricks: No matter it takes to inform the story.

M&C: How does somebody strategy you? What are the channels?

Clint Stinchcomb: I feel that anyone who has an concept can attain out to our head of programming, Steve Burns. Lots of people know Steve from… Ran programming at Discovery, at Science Channel, and even at Nat Geo.

So, he has loads of relationships within the nonfiction area, and if individuals don’t know him, I think they know anyone that is aware of him. And if I’ll add just a bit bit to what John stated about Netflix, I might say that you already know, John talked about, they’ve a finite variety of titles.

We have now as we speak over 2,000 decisions, rising to three,000 by the top of the yr, so we’ll compete on high quality definitely, however we’ll additionally compete on amount, you understand? Our focus is simply this… The purity of focus, simply factual, factual, factual.

Clint Stinchcomb: And the opposite method we take a look at it’s it’s not essentially a zero-sum recreation, proper? We’re not defeating communism or preventing the unfold of communism. We expect that there’s ample room, when you think about the truth that there are billions of potential clients for us to go after.

M&C: So, I labored out, you’ve gotten 16 collections of subjects. Is that going to broaden these verticals of particular documentaries?

John Hendricks: Sure, what you’re referring to, we do have collections of curiosity. So, there are plenty of nice content material which might be associated to drugs or the human physique, and we’ve six massive classes that we sort of program in: Science, know-how, historical past, points, human journey, and way of life.

We’ll add two extra collections this yr, and Clint, you may speak just a little bit about Youngsters’s assortment, which I feel goes to be terrific. We now have lots of people who’ve fallen in love with the service which have Okay by way of 12 college students, and so we now have the youngsters’s assortment. It’s going to be terrific.

Clint Stinchcomb: Sure, we’ve nibbled on the sides with youngsters’s programming thus far, however we anticipate including rather a lot this yr. So these thousand-plus titles that we add this yr, a wholesome portion can be youngsters and youngsters’s programming.

I feel that when you take a look at clearly what’s occurring for teenagers’ programming within the linear area, that’s a enterprise that’s in large decline, proper?

Individuals need it in an on demand surroundings, and we really feel like child’s and youngsters’s programming is a pure space for us.

It’s good that our households can sit down and watch our programming. It’s household pleasant, we now have protected harbor, I feel we’re going to try this.

And one other class that I feel we’ll broaden in just a little bit is Basic.

M&C: If you say Basic, clarify.

Clint Stinchcomb: There are some nice collection which might be older than 10 years which will have been shot in Tremendous 16, however not HD.

That we simply assume individuals would like to have a vacation spot for these, and so I feel if we current it as our Basic assortment, it’ll excuse a few of the graininess of it, however we simply assume a number of the ideas which were expressed and a few nice basic documentaries and collection, we need to be a showcase for that.

M&C: Do you will have any title names you need to throw out?

Clint Stinchcomb: Not but. Give us a month.

John Hendricks: And I feel one other program, and I’ll give a touch, we’ll name you once we’re able to launch [this information]however so one of many areas, of all of the factual, what we won’t do is breaking information.

That’s coated. However we need to do a contemporary tackle information magazines for the digital age. And so, that’s one thing that you simply’ll hear from us I feel inside the subsequent 60 days, debuting a information journal that’s good for the cellular era on the go.

Clint Stinchcomb: Every thing from, you recognize, problems with the day to you realize, explaining what blockchain is.

Or explaining what, you realize, how Tony Romo’s capable of predict what occurs within the subsequent soccer play [from] inside his mind.

It’s a cool class. It’s one thing John’s [Hendricks] been desirous about for some time

M&C: Okay, digital actuality and headsets. Upfront…I’ve a private bias. I’m satisfied that it’s by means of the dodo. Inform me I’m flawed.

Clint Stinchcomb: I do know, I do know. It might be my bias, too.

John Hendricks: Sure, properly, I feel VR has its challenges as a result of it’s designed for a really private expertise and underneath a headset.

And I feel a few of the research have proven that folks have a tolerance for about 12 to 13 minutes of being remoted and minimize off, and it may be disorienting.

We have now to cope with that actuality. However that stated, as we exit to movie on, particularly unique places that folks by no means get to go to, we now movie every little thing in 4K, 8K’s on the horizon, however 4K might be terrific, however we’re additionally aware that there might be VR dimensions to our content material.

We’ll seize and have it prepared. The opposite problem is having sort of a very widespread platform that you possibly can promote a subscription to. You’ve obtained to assume by way of the financial mannequin of this, too.

I’m hopeful that sometime, there will probably be a reliable 5 million consumer set utilizing one or two commonplace units to which we will stream content material for VR use.

We expect millennial’s will probably be throughout it, we expect younger individuals can be throughout it, however once more, it has to work inside this limitation of individuals not eager to be beneath that headset for longer than 12 to 13 minutes.

However that provides us the timeframe. We might do segments, and we’ve carried out some experiments with a tomb in Egypt, the place we’ve captured a tomb. And once more, we’re taking a look at find out how to ship that content material. It may be beautiful.

M&C: I hate it.

John Hendricks: However it may be beautiful.

However there’s one [VR intended footage] the place there’s a platform, and also you go underneath it and also you exit, and it’s only a drop off. It’s such as you’re on prime of a thousand story … they usually say, “Take a step.” Your physique gained’t allow you to take a step. It’s humorous!

M&C: Inform me the place to seek out you. How do they get CuriosityStream?

John Hendricks: Google CuriosityStream, you’ll come to it, so individuals can eat it immediately.

For many who need to put it on display, then we’re obtainable via the Google, Android platform, Chromecast, by way of Apple TV, by way of Amazon Hearth, and so quite a lot of methods to get to the large display.

Clint Stinchcomb: Sure, there are over 35 partnerships.

John Hendricks: You need to share it with your loved ones.

And, a lot of our content material is 4K. We’ve got over 200 titles, and also you wish to take pleasure in that on the costly new Samsung set you purchased that’s 4K, and there’s not lots of content material in 4K, so once more, individuals are discovering our 4K content material.

M&C: Will CuriosityStream veer into the world of actuality enhanced with dramatic constructs?

John Hendricks: Now, actuality TV could be very genuine, climbing a mountain, and it’s a narrative of individuals the place there’s not likely any play appearing to the digital camera, it’s not contrived conditions, so we’ll do actuality TV and to that extent, however we’re not going to do contrived conditions, which most individuals affiliate with Curse of Oak Island.

Clint Stinchcomb: I keep in mind when kind of actuality TV was simply coming into being, and I used to be at Discovery, and producers would are available and say … I’d say, “Nicely how does this work?”

“We’ve received to create simply an superior sense of urgency and an superior sense of jeopardy,” you already know? Fact be damned, proper?

M&C: Proper, and that’s Discovery’s bread and butter. Collection’ like Gold Rush and all that.

John Hendricks: Nicely, it was only a combined emotion day when the scores got here in from Honey Boo Boo, you understand? And also you noticed it. It will provide you with some short-term scores positive factors, however long-term…

[And] what Netflix did, which was very fascinating again in 2011 and ’12, they spent some huge cash with a number of the networks and examined content material. And what they discovered and was apparent, is like factual, nice tv that issues and science and pure historical past actually work.

And consequently, after that, they began going after BBC content material, [and were] satisfied to do Our Planet. What additionally they found was there simply wasn’t a residual urge for food for actuality TV.

Didn’t have type of long-term worth on a menu. And so, I used to be conscious of that, lots of people within the business have been conscious of that. However we acted on it some 4 years in the past to start out unique productions of nice factual content material that we all know may have lengthy legs in these SVOD platforms.

CuriosityStream could be discovered at and on most main streaming units.

Additionally by way of Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, Amazon Hearth TV, Dash, Google Chromecast, iOS and Android, in addition to Prime Video Channels, DISH, Sling TV, YouTube TV, VRV, Comcast Xfinity on Demand, Cox, Layer3 TV and the Sony, LG, Samsung and VIZIO sensible TV platforms.