April 26, 2021

Running Our Own Race

By Devin Emery, Chief Product Officer and EVP of Content Strategy


With more than 15 million paying subscribers across direct, partner direct, and distribution channels worldwide, it’s safe to say that CuriosityStream is a leader in the streaming revolution. If you’re paying close attention to us, you may also realize our strategy does not look like anyone else’s. Streaming is our core business, supported by a global strategy and multiple lines of revenue, and our numbers reflect a focus on super-serving a leaned-in community built around the desire to use their entertainment to “know more.”

One of our favorite sayings at CuriosityStream is that we’re running our own race. We are distinctly focused on building the highest quality, most expansive, and most thoughtfully curated portal to the world of non-fiction television and documentary films across science, nature, history, culture and beyond. We aren’t Netflix, we aren’t HBOMax, and we aren’t Discovery+. We make for a compelling complement alongside any of those and other general entertainment brands, and that’s a key to CurosityStream’s long-term success.

We are a unique proposition, so that means we need to occupy a unique position in the market. While many streamers are spending tens of millions of dollars per episode on scripted fare and reality TV, we’ve built CuriosityStream around focused, high-quality content and smart scale – not around others’ view on what a streaming strategy should be.

By running our own race, we’ve been able to build a DTC business that has best-in-class health metrics. We super-serve a massive category with focus and in a way that is additive to almost anyone’s streaming diet. The data show that this is working for us and working well.

Prioritizing annual plans, a best-in-market price-to-value ratio, and operating the absolute best streaming service for anyone interested in non-fiction content, all work together to give CuriosityStream strong positioning as a service with Netflix-like retention, but with all the room in the world (literally) to grow.

Below are a few stats from ANTENNA Data that show how we compare to other streamers on several key business metrics. While our business and content serve a global audience, ANTENNA currently only measures US direct and channel store subscribers (so does not include bundled and bulk subscribers). These trends – on our service at least – are consistent with what we see globally.



Our monthly churn clocks in right around Netflix’s, and well below most other services.



During the beginning stages of the COVID pandemic, streaming services, including ours, saw a boom in new subscribers. Because of our pricing and positioning strategy (including prioritizing annual plans) we have the best cohort survival rate of these new sign-ups. Of course, having people sign up for annual plans will lead to fewer of them leaving during a year, so below you can see how an annual cohort compares after going through their renewal period.


Taking into account annual plan renewal periods, we edge out Netflix to take the top spot in terms of cohort survival. We are, as far as we can tell using Antenna Data and other sources, the streaming service best at keeping subscribers with our service continuously over the course of a year and beyond.


Channel stores like Prime Channels and Roku Channel are important components to our direct business, but we benefit from directly owning the customer relationship with the overwhelming majority of our direct subscribers. This is harder to build but creates more value for us and our audience in the long run.



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