Next TV Summit: Discovery Founder on TV's Next Wave

John Hendricks on making an SVOD platform truly unique
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The keynote panel Discovering the Future Once Again featured John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications who now focuses his energies on the SVOD service CuriosityStream. Interviewed by Mark Robichaux, B&C and Multichannel News managing director of content, Hendricks outlined the three revolutions of television--the first was broadcast, the second was cable, and the third is on-demand.

"This third step is remarkable," said Hendricks, describing television's migration from channels to menus.

Hendricks said the channels with broad offerings are better situated than the niche ones.

CuriosityStream, offering factual content, features 2,000 titles falling in the Science, History, Technology, Nature, Society and Lifestyle categories. It sells for $2.99 monthly and $19.99 a year.

The platform features presenting sponsors, not traditional advertisers. Toyota has the exclusive automotive billing at CuriosityStream, which involves a 15-second, non-skippable pre-roll. "We think that's the answer," Hendricks said.

Hendricks spoke of the challenge regarding how much people are prepared to spend each month for their third-revolution content, which includes Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, and will soon see a Disney entrant. "There'll be some healthy competition in the movies space," said Hendricks.

And less so on the non-fiction side. Some 40% of consumers are "fundamentally curious" about the world, said Hendricks of his target audience. Fully 54% of CuriosityStream subscribers are millennials, he added.

While Hendricks mentioned Joe Abruzzese being on board on the sales side at CuriosityStream, he said truly compelling content almost sells itself. "When you have great content," Hendricks said, "advertisers want to associate with it."

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