Curiosity Stream’s John Hendricks Predicts Survivors And Victims Of SVOD War – TCA

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A Great Streaming War is upon us, John Hendricks told TV critics at TCA on Saturday.

“We knew this day was coming,” he told TV critics of the content “pandemonium” that has broken out. Streaming services are now disrupting cable TV, in much the same way cable disrupted broadcast earlier, and broadcast disrupted radio.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of this third wave,” Hendricks said. He had came to pitch his streaming service, Curiosity Stream, which he boasts has the corner on the “full factual market.”

“We’re not niche,” he insisted, saying his venture includes everything fact based except breaking newscasts. Library current stands at about 2,100 titles and will soon be up to 3K.

“With factual TV, we’ve kind of got it now,” he said of the genre.

Only about six streaming behemoths will survive this war, Hendricks forecast.

“We can all name them: Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Apple, A&T/Warner Media. Comcast dselayed their intentions but made clear they want to participate,“ he said. “I think those will be the six winners.”

“We’re seeing other companies – Shari Redstone made the comment she’s got interest in CBS and Viacom, but that might not be large enough for the world of the future,” he added.

Curiosity Stream will be priced so that it “can be layered on top,” of the six streaming giants.

On Monday, Curiosity Stream will announce it has raised $140M in private placement funding, most of which will be put “on the screen, company president/CEO Clint Stinchcomb added.

Hendricks is maybe best known as founder of Discovery Channel, grown into Discovery Communications, from which he retired in 2014.

Hendricks notably did not name that company as one of the survivors of this third revolution.  He got asked about that company by a TV critic who noted it had largely abandoned factual programming in favor of reality TV.

There is an enormous appetite for “quality factual production,” Hendricks said, pointing to Planet Earth’s whopping 41% share in its UK debut. Netflix, he said, in 2011 experimented by licensing an enormous amount of content from almost all of the big cable networks, including Discovery in the factual area. Its content, which did well, short term, did not on SVOD. Hendricks called it a “big lesson for Netflix which “did not renew Discovery’s contract.”

“Television that matters has a long shelf life,” Hendricks concluded, pointedly.

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