Exclusive: Nature streamer WaterBear moves into TVOD content


Natural world-themed streaming platform WaterBear is introducing a TVOD element, with well-known titles such as The Game Changers and Blackfish coming to the service to rent.

While all its content has been offered free until now, WaterBear previously teased TVOD plans when exclusively sharing its launch strategy with TBI back in November 2020.

The streamer is now adding a small, “carefully selected” number of titles, with a new TVOD offering to be released every couple of weeks in support of the Resilient Foundation, a non-profit organisation that funds short form, feature documentaries, journalism, live and news around stories that may otherwise go unreported.

WaterBear’s ‘Resilient Collection’ will see documentary films to rent land on the platform, with all revenue directed to raise funds for the Resilient Foundation. The streamer, which was founded by CEO Ellen Windemuth, executive producer of recent Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher, launched in December 2020 and expanded its presence to 30 additional countries earlier this month.

“Our focus is on prestige, well-known content from big name producers,” WaterBear MD Victor Eckard told TBI about the Resilient Collection, revealing: “Our TVOD selection also includes some lesser-known films that are very high quality, quite new, and still in pay-per-view or other monetisation rounds on other platforms and therefore unavailable for AVOD/FVOD.”

The Game Changers

Among the new programming coming to the service as TVOD titles are director Louie Psihoyos’ 2018 documentary The Game Changers, about the athletic benefits of a plant-based diet and Robert Kenner’s 2008 film Food Inc., exploring corporate farming in the US.

Josh Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell’s 2020 documentary Kiss The Ground, meanwhile, examines the importance of soil to the global climate and human health, while WaterBear viewers in the UK only will gain access to Gabriela Cowperthwaite 2013 film Blackfish, about the plight of whales in captivity.

“The introduction of TVOD will allow WaterBear to expand on its content offering and add value to our members through our content curation strategy. Great inspirational content about the future of our planet in one carefully curated environment, WaterBear,” said Eckard.

Victor Eckard

“In addition, through our partnership with Resilient Foundation, we will be supporting their strategy in creating new inspirational content, promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

TVOD title prices will vary, though Eckard says they will be comparative to other services and in the range of EUR 2.99 and EUR 4.99, depending on quality, age and availability. Eckard also confirmed that all current free content on WaterBear will remain free and that the offering of free content will continue to grow.

In addition to the TVOD titles being added, a number of free WaterBear Originals are also in the works, including Not A Pet, which examines the exotic pet trade, as well as climate-focused content So Hot Right Now, The Breakdown and The Whale Who Saved Me.

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