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Curiosity Stream loses 2 million subscribers, creeps closer to profitability

Documentary-focused streaming service Curiosity Stream said it ended its most-recent financial quarter with 23 million paying subscribers, a decrease of 2 million subscribers compared to the previous quarter.

The data point was released as part of Curiosity Stream’s quarterly earnings report on Wednesday, which showed an increase in the company’s revenue to $23.6 million, up from $22.3 million reported last quarter and year-over-year increase of 26 percent.

Clint Stinchcomb, the president and chief executive of Curiosity Stream, said the company “delivered another strong quarter, with revenue and EBITDA above our guidance ranges and the best quarterly EBITDA performance since becoming a public company.”

“We made clear progress towards our goal of becoming sustainably profitable,” Stinchcomb affirmed.

Curiosity Stream reported a net loss of $4.5 million for the quarter, about four times less than the $16.0 million the company lost last quarter.

“We continue to maintain a solid balance sheet which positions us well for ongoing success,” Stinchcomb affirmed.

Curiosity Stream offers more than 15,000 video and audio titles through its on-demand streaming catalog. It also operates a linear feed called Curiosity Channel that is available on a number of streaming services, including Frndly TV, Vidgo and Fubo TV.

On a conference call with investors, Stinchcomb said its linear channel served two functions: To help the company generate advertising revenue on partner streaming services, and to serve as a barker window for Curiosity Stream itself, which cost $3 a month for standard definition video or $10 a month for ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) streams.

“We recognize the importance to meet consumers where they are,” Stinchcomb said. “And that’s been our approach from early on.”

During its third financial quarter, Curiosity Stream launched a number of initiatives to keep streamers engaged, including the “100 Days of Curiosity” campaign, which focused on award-winning films, series and specials that have debuted on the service since it launched eight years ago.

But the initiatives were not enough to convince some subscribers to stick around, with 2 million ditching the service during the three-month period that ended September 30. Stinchcomb didn’t explain why those subscribers left, but did say that direct-to-consumer sales was the second-biggest driver of revenue for the company.

The largest, he said, was Curiosity Stream’s content licensing agreement with third parties, which accounted for $10.8 million in revenue, an increase of 60 percent compared to last year. That part of the business continues to be lucrative, he affirmed.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).