Documentary fans are the audience for a new streaming service.

Documentary fans are the audience for a new streaming service. Photo: Kentoh | Shutterstock.

The newest entrant into the battle for the streaming content market is CuriosityStream. Unlike Netflix, Amazon, or the numerous other services that you probably aren’t even aware of, CuriosityStream isn’t trying to snag old TV shows, new movies, or original dramas. They’re focused entirely on factual content, streaming documentaries from a variety of sources.

Launching in the middle of October, they debuted with around 1,000 titles, many of them short form series, which puts to shame the number of documentaries on Amazon or Netflix. They’re also working with other groups, like the BBC, to produce new content, which is a boon for fans of non-fiction content, because everybody knows that the British take documentaries seriously.

The force behind CuriosityStream is John Hendricks, who founded Discovery Communications and pretty much invented non-fiction cable. That company owns 14 networks and is worth $13.7 billion, so he obviously has some idea of what he’s doing. He thinks that there’s a solid customer base for the service, which is only $3 a month for SD and $6 a month for HD. Considering how many people tune in for Shark Week every year, he’s probably on to something.

The service is too young to know whether or not it will succeed, but there are other focused streaming services that have done fine for themselves, such as Crunchy Roll, which only streams Japanese animation. With the domination of Netflix and the sheer buying power of Amazon, trying to compete with them is a fool’s errand. But those two services don’t provide everything that viewers actually want, and so the key to surviving in the streaming business is providing specialty content.

If CuriosityStream can do that well, by providing factual content that people find interesting, and by taking their audience seriously, they should have s pretty good shot at success.