Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

CuriosityStream Strategy. 3,000 Titles: What do they want? Meet Jorge Franzini. (Video + Notes)

CuriosityStream is the highly regarded streamer dedicated to traditional factual programs, and launched by Discovery founder John Hendricks:

  • What is CuriosityStream‘s unscripted strategy?
  • What do they want?
  • What are examples of recent hits?

For a Sunny Side Meet the Executive session, Jorge Franzini shared CuriosityStream’s vision and programming priorities.

Watch our informative and exclusive Sunny Side conversation:

Recorded June 18, 2020


  • Launched in 2015 by the founder of Discovery, John Hendricks
  • SVOD model: Subscribers can choose what they want to watch and when
  • Cost- $2.99 a month
  • Concentrating on becoming home of all factual entertainment
  • Goal is to entertain, enlighten, and inspire viewers
  • Looking for stories from all over the world
  • More than 13+ million subscribers
  • Launched first PayTV channel in 2018


  • Five Buckets to Start: Science, History, Technology, Wildlife / Natural History, and Cultural
  • Space programming is a very popular sub-genre
  • Starting to expand into Travel, Food, Sports, and Crime
  • Focus is on classic factual, NO reality television
  • High editorial standards
  • Licensing can be non-exclusive


  • Over 3,000 titles in the library:
  • Traditional one hours
  • Short form
  • Mid-form does phenomenally well, rates just as highly as traditional format
  • Content dictates length


  • Algorithms have a “suggested for you section”

Recent Hits & Notables

Jorge selected several documentaries to highlight his strategy. Clips are included in the video.

  • Muck City
    • Sports series
    • Looks at communities and sports
    • Verité

Sources of Programs / Coproductions

  • Reputation as being easy partners with high editorial standards
  • Coproduction partners:
    • NHK is one of the biggest coproduction partners
    • ZED
    • Bigger Bang, a notable producer
  • All about give and take
  • They do take projects from independent producers
    • Big open door policy
    • “Talent is talent regardless of size and prior recognition”
    • Playground for development of content and development of talent

How to Pitch CuriosityStream

  • International markets (like Sunny Side) are key
  • Programming team is not huge
  • They welcome emails and phone calls, but communication takes some time
  • They don’t need a big fancy treatment, a succinct paragraph or idea about the story is best
  • If they haven’t worked with you before and you don’t have a trailer for the project, send clip/trailer from a previous project

(Notes by Becca Wallance)

More of my CuriosityStream coverage

Don’t miss my Sunny Side interviews with:

  • Catherine Alvaresse – France Télévisions
  • Fatima Salaria – Channel 4
  • Chris Hoelzl – Smithsonian Networks

See recent posts!