WildBear launches history documentary streaming service

WildBear has launched a new dedicated history documentary streaming service.

Production company WildBear Entertainment has moved into the streaming space, launching dedicated history documentary service Chronicle.

Supported by Screen Canberra, the platform includes Chronicle Originals and a library of international and domestic titles, as well as exclusive content from historians enlisted to interpret stories within the catalogue.

It’s the culmination of an eight-month development process for WildBear, known for producing documentaries such as Brock Over The Top, Hating Peter Tatchell, and Playing with Sharks.

CEO Michael Tear told IF the idea for the streaming service came from wanting to build on the “highly engaged” audience of its historical productions.

“[Viewers] email us and write to us, asking questions and sometimes pointing out things we’ve got wrong,” he said.

“So we had an instinct that audience would be keen on something that was specifically targeted at the consumer, and given we co-produce a lot of content in international markets, we saw it as an opportunity, initially, to screen the types of shows we made, before expanding the scope of what we were trying to achieve.”

He said the company also viewed the platform as “very complementary” to what it was already doing.

“A lot of the relationships with buyers and distributors and other partners were already there,” he said.

“The other thing you do need is a scale of operation, which we also have.”

Program highlights for launch include two Chronicle Originals — Dan Jobson’s The Bomber: The Terror of World War II, a 6 x 1-hour series narrated by Callan McAuliffe about the one weapon that changed not only the battlefield, but war itself, and Jim Wilks’ As It Happened, which pulls back the curtain on some of the most shocking, notorious and captivating news stories of the past century.

There is also Mark Kitchell’s Academy-Award nominated Berkeley in the Sixties, Eddie Martin’s Lionel Rose biopic Lionel, The Grand Tours of Scotland series, Patrick Lindsay’s Kokoda: The Spirit Lives, and Michael Cove and Oliver Waghorn’s Price of Empire: WWII, a Wildbear production.

Tear said Wildbear would be “cherry picking” content for the service going forward, having done deals with distributors, ZDF Studios, All3Media, Flame, and Ronin Films.

“It’s going to be classic history, rather than history that veers into the entertainment space,” he said.

“One opportunity we have is doing original content that will only be available in our market because we are working with international partners that are commissioning things, so there is a specific opportunity for WildBear content.

“But we’ll be looking to work with all sorts of people on the platform, other than just ourselves.”