From Discovery to Curiosity – Igniting Wonder and Fascination About Our Planet, with Elizabeth Hendricks North
CuriosityStream is the world’s first streaming service dedicated to quality, factual television programming. It was created by the founder and former chairman of Discovery Communications, John Hendricks. This month Parvati Magazine sat down with CuriosityStream President and CEO Elizabeth Hendricks North.
Parvati Magazine: Less than three years after launching, CuriosityStream is now in 96 countries with a near-term target of growth to one million subscribers. What has fueled this exceptional growth and what challenges has it brought to you as President and CEO?
Elizabeth Hendricks North:CuriosityStream has grown competitively for the past few years. The success is fueled by the incredible general public interest surrounding our service and our original documentaries. CuriosityStream.com has garnered over 7.5 million unique visitors since our launch. There are a lot of curious minds out there, eager to watch captivating features and series about science, history, nature and technology. As President and CEO, the greatest challenge I’ve found is in keeping up with the demand for new content. With our small yet talented in-house production company, we continue to produce exclusive originals so that we can offer our global audience shows they can’t find anywhere else. One of our great achievements this year was receiving three Emmy nominations for two of our CuriosityStream Original series, including an Emmy win for Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places. We are planning a sequel to our Stephen Hawking series, debuting in early 2018.
PMAG: You came to CuriosityStream after achieving noted success as a Vice President of Hendricks Holdings, LLC. How does being a family business affect the way you and your team are able to manage and grow the company?
EHN: CuriosityStream is still, at the moment, a small company and with a certain size, we are able to move and pivot quickly into new opportunities. Coming from my family’s investment business, I’ve been fortunate to work closely with my father for over a decade on various projects. That special relationship has helped me to learn qualities of leadership from him that continue to enhance my functions as CEO. In particular, we’ve grown CuriosityStream with very carefully chosen talent that has helped us to do so much more than perhaps a larger company with less of a focus on team expertise and passion.
PMAG: You were on Princeton’s 2004 NCAA final four soccer team, still run, and recently became vegan. How do you prioritize your own wellness as part of a busy life and how does CuriosityStream promote wellness among your staff?
EHN: I think health and wellness is an important aspect to leading a productive life. At CuriosityStream, we try to promote healthy choices by offering fresh fruit each week in the kitchen and ensuring team gatherings always have salads along with the standard lunch offering. Healthy eating not only impacts athletic performance but also enhances mental clarity as well.
PMAG: What’s next for for CuriosityStream?
EHN: CuriosityStream is looking forward to a banner year in 2018. While the new year will likely test a lot of current and up-and-coming SVOD services, we’re confident that CuriosityStream is positioned for key growth in 2018 and beyond. A large part of that confidence stems from distribution deals, strategic partnerships and tweaks to the business model that we’ve put into motion in the past few months. We want as many people as possible, as easily as possible, to be able to dive deep with us on their favorite interests.
PMAG: Imagine we are twenty years in the future and looking back. What impact do you hope CuriosityStream will have had on the world?
EHN: My hope is that CuriosityStream continues to ignite wonder and fascination about our planet in viewers worldwide and serves as a guide for those passionate about all of the ologies, from anthropology to paleontology to ecology to biology, etc. I think that as one comes to know more about the rich diversity of the Earth, education and awareness engenders compassion and positive action. In twenty years’ time, perhaps we do have those blue parks or “Hope Spots” that Sylvia Earle envisions to protect global marine environments. I’d like to think CuriosityStream could play a role in sharing the natural beauty and scientific wonders of those places and other environments with a global audience.
Elizabeth Hendricks North leads all strategy and operations as President and CEO of CuriosityStream, the award-winning streaming and on-demand destination for world-class documentary features and series exploring science, space, technology, history, nature, health and more. .