Curiosity Stream's Curious Pricing
We're taking a look at the pricing strategy of Curiosity Stream, an educational and documentary video platform founded by John Hendricks, the mind behind the Discovery Channel. Curiosity Stream has done an impressive job raising $280 million and amassing 20 million subscribers. However, there's an interesting mistake they're making with their pricing strategy that many companies fall into. Let's jump right into it.
Background of Curiosity Stream
Curiosity Stream was created by John Hendricks, who wanted to continue his passion for sharing educational content within the competitive streaming market. The company quickly gained momentum and became the first publicly traded streaming company focused on factual content. By 2021, CuriosityStream had completed a full rebrand, consolidating its offerings under the Curiosity umbrella, which includes Curiosity stream, Curiosity Channel, and Curiosity Studios.
Reaction to Pricing Page
During the pricing page teardown session, we examined Curiosity Stream's pricing strategy. While we praised the company for its iterative approach and adaptation to market trends, we also pointed out areas where improvements could be made.
One aspect that stood out was the inclusion of corporate subscriptions and gift cards. These options allow businesses to offer Curiosity Stream subscriptions at a discounted rate, opening up avenues for retention and gifting. We highlighted the smartness of this move, as it expands CuriosityStream's market reach and taps into the corporate sector's purchasing power.
Curiosity Stream's inclusion of gift cards and corporate subscriptions presents an excellent opportunity to engage with new customers and leverage word-of-mouth recommendations.
While Curiosity Stream offers annual discounts, we suggest reevaluating their pricing to ensure it aligns better with customers' willingness to pay. Adding context to the savings, such as mentioning the exact dollar amount saved, could enhance the appeal.
The positioning of the smart bundle, which provides access to content on multiple screens, might require reconsideration. We suggest experimenting with prompts for upgrades when users attempt to access content on additional screens, similar to Netflix's approach.
Curiosity Stream's pricing strategy offers several noteworthy elements, such as corporate subscriptions and gift cards, that cater to different customer segments. However, we recommend fine-tuning the annual discount structure and exploring alternative methods for promoting multi-screen access.
By implementing these suggestions, Curiosity Stream has the potential to optimize its pricing strategy, increase profitability, and further solidify its position in the competitive streaming market.
That concludes our analysis of Curiosity Stream's pricing strategy. Stay tuned for more insights in the next episode of Pricing Page Teardown.
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Why would they wait?
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Oh welcome to pricing page tearDown where paddles. Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Campbell breaks down what companies are doing well and not so well when it comes to their pricing strategy. Patrick, take it away.
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This week we're talking about curiosity Stream, the educational and documentary video platform with the goal enlightening, educating and inspiring. Fun fact Curiositystream was founded by John Hendricks, the man behind the Discovery Channel. So that's why it's very Discovery Channel Ask you to Stream has raised $280 million, but they're making a crucial error, too, here with their pricing strategy that you're probably making, too.
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So before we get into that, though, Steve, tell us a little bit more about Curiositystream.
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Curiositystream is a streaming service launched by John Hendricks in 2015. Hendricks originally discovered Discovery Channel and wanted to continue his passion for sharing educational content within the competitive streaming market. Curiositystream is a wide range of documentaries and series and features productions from the BBC and NHK. Curiosity stream has grown a ton since its founding on October 15th, 2020.
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Curiositystream became the first publicly traded streaming company focused on factual content, and by 2021, Curiosity stream had over 20 million subscribers. Since then, the company has completed a full rebrand, including the shortened name for its parent company Curiosity, and consisting of Curiositystream Curiosity Channel and Curiosity Studios. However, the streaming space gets more saturated each day and competition is on the rise.
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Does Curiositystream have the right pricing to help them thrive and succeed? Let's find out.
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One thing I like about Curiositystream is they are definitely iterating a lot on their business and their pricing strategy. Just in preparing for this season of pricing page teardown, we actually discovered one of the points were going to make is they use to differentiate 4K, meaning you wouldn't get 4K unless you were in the premium plan. And the comment on that is like everything's kind of going to 4K, which is really, really cool.
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It means that they're thinking about it, they're getting feedback to try and optimize. But when we check out their pricing page, it's right on their homepage. This is what I like about a lot of media products. It's like you're either getting, you know, kind of referred somewhere. You've seen something, maybe they got you in on a little bit of an offer and then all of a sudden you come into their pricing page and it's like, here's what we do.
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We have a bunch of this content, here's a bunch of fun stuff. And then here are our plans, right? Very similar to Netflix, very similar to Hulu. You know, they could offer maybe an episode here or there, a trailer here, there, but you're probably already seeing that on social and that's why you're coming to this page pricing page, pretty straightforward standard kind of plan includes full library, a bunch of documentaries you can download and watch, things you cannot watch on different screens, which we'll talk about the second you don't get the bundled access to a bunch of different types of products.
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The smart bundle you can watch on multiple screens and you get access to all that other content. Now, a couple of things to kind of keep in mind here that I think are worthy of note, both in the positive and like a little bit of a critical direction. So first, one of the smartest things that they're doing right now that everyone should be copying is if we scroll all the way down to the bottom here we have this one tab about corporate subscriptions and then the other tab of gift cards.
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Now, I would probably rename this more around like gifting or gifts. Curiositystream. It's a little bit more of like actionable, pragmatic way to describe it. But in both cases, the business or corporate subscriptions, basically you can offer curiositystream subscriptions to your company at a discount in order to basically, you know, use this for retention or gifts or stuff like that, which I think is super, super smart because even if you're a consumer product, corporations, businesses, which are huge, huge purchasers of products, want to like maybe gift your product or give your product away to their clients, their customers.
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The other thing around the gift card or like the gifting, which I want them to kind of re rename this as I love this reward, the curiosity. But this is something really smart about a product like this because if you like it, you probably want a gift it to someone else because you're already talking about it. You're like, Oh, I got to get you on Curiositystream or Oh, we got to get the kids on Curiositystream.
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They do some really, really smart things where you can select the plan, you can pick a date and then they'll deliver it. And what I presume is going to be a really, really, really good way, you know, make it a bit of an experience. So those are two revenue streams that they're kind of expanding their market into from their existing user base, which is really, really smart.
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One thing that kind of annoys me when it comes to their pricing because it's so good, but they're not advertising it the way that they should, is under the gift plan. If you go into buy now, you can give the standard the smart bundle and then there's the standard lifetime license. So this is basically you pay one fee, $250, and then you get access to curiositystream forever.
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It's not a subscription. You just pay a lifetime. Now, you might be thinking, Patrick, in the past you've said unlimited plans. These are terrible because you're capping your upside. Yes, I have said that. But in the world of consumer products and media, you have to think about what your lifetime value is. So if we go back to the original pricing plan, you're talking about a product that has a $70 max right now per year for their product.
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So let's say someone sticks around for three years, you're still only at $210 of lifetime value if you didn't change your price. But $250, if I can get that today and my lifetime value probably isn't three years for a consumer product, that's something that's brilliant. So you've seen different products, particularly the meditation app space has done this. But what I normally suggest is take your lifetime value of your subscribers, tack on 50% kind of arbitrary and come up with a lifetime plan.
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My hope is that Curiositystream does this as some sort of email offer to folks that are on their list but haven't converted or have converted and have churn. But this is something that I would bring to the actual pricing page in some particular way and not just buried in their gifting subscription. Another thing that I think that they should kind of work on here is I would gut check these annual discounts a little bit right now, this $70 per year, $40 per year.
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If we think about those numbers just on a very absolute basis, meaning someone pulling out their credit card and swiping for $40 or $70, those are a little bit on optimized When we look at a bunch of different willingness to pay data, I would say that they're discounting a little bit heavy here and they're not even really showing off how much of a discount it is.
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There's not like, you know, save $50. There's nothing like that, which is the dollar amount that you're technically saving. They're just kind of comparing 584 per month in 999 a month, which a lot of people just find confusing if they were to do the exact same piece here and be $10 a month or $70 annually, save $50, it would put it in enough context for people.
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But I think that that discount level is also a little bit big. So I think they could pull back from that last big point for folks to kind of think about this multi-screen at the same time differentiator. Now when you're talking about your customers, a lot of times their usage patterns will try to dictate where that upgrade actually goes.
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To me, Curiositystream is positioning this smart bundle as a smart bundle where you get all of this other access. This whole like watch on different screens is kind of a differentiator. But I don't know if it's exactly necessary. One thing that I would experiment with is when the standard person tries to share a password or they're trying to watch it on a couple of different screens, that's when I would prompt them to upgrade to the smart bundle where you get additional screens very similar to Netflix.
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The other thing that you could experiment with because Curiositystream appears to share it with their pricing quite often take that out of both the SMART bundle and the standard plan as it is done and then as people try to use it on multiple screens, have just like this phantom plan that isn't necessarily on the website, but they can upgrade to 799 per month or even get to the 99 nine month tier in order to upgrade.
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I think it's just one of those things where they're bundling it a little bit too much here because I know Netflix, that's their like most premium tier right now is typically when you can watch it on more than two particular screens and that's one of their biggest differentiators. So something to think about. We don't have the internal data, so it's a little bit hard, but that's something to kind of think about as a business overall.
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Like are you giving things away in an upgrade path that you don't necessarily need to, that you can then use based on app usage or engagement with your particular product and have a phantom tier that isn't on your home page or is it on your pricing page? But it's another upgrade path for folks who don't necessarily want the bundled content but do want multiple different screens.
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To recap, corporate and gift memberships super, super smart channels for making purchases in a different dynamic than a lot of consumer products don't think about a lot of B2B products. Can do a lot of stuff with this as well, especially the SMB or prosumer type products. I would gut check your access streams, annual discounts. They're a little bit heavy right now.
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Might be one of those things. Or they didn't necessarily collect data. They just kind of thought about what made the most sense. And I think it's one of those things where they might be giving away too much here needlessly like meaning their conversion rates would stay the same, but they would obviously have a bit more profit, a bit more revenue in the queue.
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The multi I think bundling, that was one of those things that it just seems a little out of place based on their positioning. So I'm not sure if they have data on that, but that's something I might experiment and have a phantom plan with, and then they're just brilliant with their lifetime plan. But it's only in the gifting option.
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I would hope that that is kind of in the offers option that they're already doing with other products or other kind of interactions with their customers. But hopefully it's one of the things they're doing. If not, bring that forward, bring that into your offer as your existing customers are more than happy to probably upgrade to that as well and kind of extend that lifetime value out.
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That's it for this episode of Pricing page here down. If you are curiositystream a competitor or anyone else wanting some help with your own pricing strategy. Hit me up a PC panel e-comm for everyone else. Make sure you sign up and subscribe. We'll see you next week.