Subscription service CuriosityStream adding sponsors including Sprint

SVOD CuriosityStream, a premium service offering nonfiction programming focused on science, history, nature and technology, is adding sponsors.

The company said it’s adding six category-exclusive presenting sponsors from verticals including automotive, aerospace, energy, communications, insurance, and financial services. Each of the six sponsors will have a branded "theater" on the CuriosityStream platform through which curated selections of CuriosityStream original content are presented alongside sponsored content.

Sprint is the service’s communications sponsor, and the wireless provider will develop original content for the platform. The service said five more exclusive sponsors will be announced before year end.

By essentially putting ads on a subscription service, CuriosityStream runs the risk of alienating some viewers more accustomed to the Netflix experience instead of the limited-ad experience on Hulu. But CuriosityStream is promising to have the “least-cluttered advertising environment” and to not introduce ad interruptions, only 15-second preroll ads.

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“As viewers access premium on-demand services either directly (OTT) or through their existing cable, satellite, or Internet distributor, they are searching for the highest quality content choices that are not cluttered with commercial interruptions. I am pleased to report today that our nearly year-long design work with some of the nation's leading advertising agencies and their 'blue-chip' clients has produced a breakthrough new way for sponsors to follow and reach these smart and affluent viewers who have gone 'missing' from linear television,” said John Hendricks, founder and executive chairman of CuriosityStream, in a statement. He added that the sponsorships allow CuriosityStream to offer HD delivery for $19.99 per year.

CuriosityStream also announced an 18-title CuriosityStream SHOWCASE service, available for free through, by CuriosityStream's SVOD distribution affiliates, and skinny bundle OTT distributors. The company said CuriosityStream SHOWCASE is designed to be distributed as part of an affiliate's basic service offering.

The company also said that it’s exploring potential "bundling" opportunities with its distributor partners, and that it is now able to deliver a linear channel feed for distributors who want a CuriosityStream Channel to accompany the premium CuriosityStream SVOD service.