CuriosityStream Ends First Day Of Trading On Nasdaq With 11% Gain

CuriosityStream chairman John Hendricks, left, and CEO Clint Stinchcomb at Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in 2019. Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP

CuriosityStream ended its first day of trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday at $11.20 a share, up 11% in its initial public offering.

Founded by Discovery founder John Hendricks in 2015, the company runs a streaming service focused on factual programming, including shows about nature and history.

In August, CuriosityStream said it would go public via a special purpose acquisition group, or SPAC, an investment vehicle known in financial circles as a “blank-check” company. The streaming company was acquired by a SPAC called Software Acquisition Group.

CuriosityStream has reported having 13 million subscribers in 175-plus countries. Its price point is decidedly modest in the subscription streaming arena, at $2.99 a month or $19.99 a year.

CEO Clint Stinchcomb, who had a long run as an executive at Discovery, told Deadline the company’s churn is competitive with that of Netflix at the low end of the spectrum, below 3%. “We really see ourselves as a value, coming in at a fraction of some other services. It allows us to be complementary to our viewers’ media experience,” he said.

Bundling is also easier at a more modest price point, Stinchcomb said. CuriosityStream is integrated into newer set-top boxes from Altice USA and has designs on other deals in that vein.

Asked about the threat represented by Discovery’s stated intention to mount a stand-alone subscription service, Stinchcomb said CuriosityStream has intentionally focused on areas that Discovery left behind. While it was initially known for nature shows, the company has grown through general interest unscripted properties, especially once its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive vaulted it into cooking, real estate and travel.

SPAC-derived IPOs, which are cyclical based on economic conditions, have heated up lately in the media and entertainment sector. DraftKings is one recent example, with the sports betting firm having its IPO after a three-way merger involving a SPAC created by former MGM chief Harry Sloan and business partner Jeff Sagansky.

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