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CuriosityStream Chairman on going public, future outlook

Streaming service CuriosityStream is coming to the public markets this week. CuriosityStream Chairman John Hendricks joins Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous and Brian Sozzi to discuss the details.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Another streaming name is coming to the public markets this week. CuriosityStream, it's an online service that lets you watch thousands of documentaries. And it's headed by an industry veteran, John Hendricks, who is founder and chairman of CuriosityStream. He's also former head of Discovery Communications.

John, good morning and congratulations on going public tomorrow on the NASDAQ. This is a SPAC deal that closes today. Why go public now, and why with a SPAC?

JOHN HENDRICKS: Well, several reasons. So for us, we've reached that stage of growth where we have recurring revenue. We have predictable revenue streams. We've been at this quite a while, about five years now. And we're in 13 million paying subscriber homes in over 175 countries.

And so for us, we feel like now's the time. You know, and being a public company, you have access to the public capital markets. And we feel it's time to be more bold in our spending and brand awareness worldwide. And that's the flexibility that going public allows.

So we announced the merger on August 11, and so we're real pleased to get that accomplished today, and going live on NASDAQ tomorrow.

BRIAN SOZZI: John, you really are going to merge one heck of a balance sheet, about $180 million in cash and no debt. Where do you plan to spend that in terms of content?

JOHN HENDRICKS: Yeah, so we'll announce all the details a little later today. But we will-- you know, the two big spending areas will be content and marketing. And probably a little bit more in the content development. We want to build our library, from today we have 3,100 titles. Over 900 of those titles are original.

And over the next five years, we want to take that up to almost 12,000 titles. And we'll try to maintain the original productions at about the 1/3 level.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: John, the streaming service area is becoming a very crowded one. During this pandemic we saw Quibi Launch, Disney Plus, and just we saw this week that Disney is restructuring largely around its streaming service. I think people may be looking at CuriosityStream and saying, you know, do we need another streaming choice out there?

JOHN HENDRICKS: Yeah, well we think the success will go to those streamers that program at a full category. So Netflix, for example, programs a full category of scripted movie entertainment. And we're doing the same thing in the factual space.

And so we think long-term that most consumers will have three or four great sources for movie entertainment. And then we look to be, you know, one of those fourth, fifth, or sixth choice for most consumers out there. We're very confident, because we know that some 60% of all people keep up on the news. And so that's the curious portion of the population. And some 40% are very deeply curious, and that's the really the sweet spot for all of our content. On current events programming, science, nature, history, travel, human adventure.

So again, it's a proven category. And we think by being the dominant player-- having been out there for five years acquiring some of the best content in the world. Really focusing on premium content and our original productions. And it's very differentiated. That's what-- when consumers get CuriosityStream, they're kind of blown away with the choice and the quality that they have. They have 3,100 titles they can enjoy all year long at either just $3.00 a month or $19.95 for an annual subscription.

BRIAN SOZZI: John, you have some heavy hitters on your advisory board, Glenn Close and Don Henley. Those heavy hitters, what do they-- how do they help the company? What are they-- what advice are they giving to you right now?

JOHN HENDRICKS: Well, early on we had a project before we even incorporated CuriosityStream called Curiosity Project. And then that led to a lot of ideas about programming. And we wanted just to track ideas from leaders in science and technology, from World of Arts. And so they've been very helpful in providing ideas through the years.

And so again, we're ready to hit the ground running as a public company tomorrow with some of the great people on our board of directors. Matt Blank, former chairman and CEO of Showtime, joined our board of directors recently. So again, we're looking forward to, you know, more growth in the future.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right. John Hendricks, chairman of CuriosityStream, thanks so much, and best of luck tomorrow going public.

JOHN HENDRICKS: Great, thank you so much.