CuriosityStream, a streaming service for such factual content as documentaries on science and history that was launched by Discovery founder John Hendricks, made its market debut on Thursday, with its stock rising in early trading.
In August, the company agreed to go public through a merger with blank check company Software Acquisition Group. The trend of blank check firms, or special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC), has heated up again in the media space this year.
CuriosityStream’s stock is now trading on the Nasdaq exchange under ticker symbol CURI. As of 9:35 a.m. ET, it was up 14.6 percent at $11.57.
CuriosityStream has said it has around 13 million subscribers in more than 175 countries. Its service is priced at $2.99 per month or $19.99 a year and is also offered bundled through such pay TV operators as Altice USA.
Founder and chairman Hendricks in a recent investor presentation spoke of the “unstoppable demand for the consumer to finally get control of their viewing options” and the “unstoppable revolution” brought on by Netflix and other streamers. “We’re going to participate as the factual leader,” he said. “We do not see our role as a niche service in any way, but what we’re addressing is the full factual category, the way ESPN addresses the full sports category. And by addressing the full category, you have a much bigger future than if you address the niche like a golf channel or a tennis channel compared to ESPN.”
Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger in a recent report called CuriosityStream “a rare opportunity for public market investors to own shares in a video streaming pure-play, other than Netflix.” He also described it as “a new venture re-born for the future era with a commitment to stay true to the brand and mission of high-quality factual programming, in a SVOD business model with no legacy conflicts.”
Hendricks said about the IPO: “We are excited to become the first publicly traded streaming media company focused on delivering factual content. As a public company with new cash funding and access to the public capital markets, we are poised to dramatically accelerate our growth plans.”
Added Clint Stinchcomb, president and CEO of CuriosityStream: “With John Hendricks as our chairman, a strong management team, a passionate, diverse workforce and this new access to the public capital markets, we are well positioned to drive innovation, accelerate our growth and to continue delivering compelling factual content to millions of subscribers worldwide.”