Chronicle Streamer Takes History Focus

Michael Tear, CEO of WildBear Entertainment, tells TV Real about the founding of the Chronicle streaming platform, how its catalog is curated and plans for the future.

Australia’s WildBear Entertainment has been behind hit history programs for several years, and it has taken its interest in the genre one step further by launching a history-focused streamer, Chronicle. Supported by Screen Canberra, the brand-new platform features a wide array of history titles, including WildBear originals and a library of international titles.

According to Tear, Chronicle was born out of a passion for history and the knowledge that Australians themselves love the genre. Since WildBear has its own strong yearly history programming slate, what better way to feed the appetite for the genre than launching a focused streamer? “These thoughts naturally led us to the idea of the platform and wanting to create a community of history lovers, documentarians, authors and experts,” Tear says. “Those who want to respond, to be involved, those who are more than ‘interested.’ Chronicle is a place that understands, welcomes and celebrates the love of history.”

To craft Chronicle’s catalog, “a curator collects, protects, researches and interprets history, prioritizing quality over quantity, which makes it easier for us all to share and discover high-quality, fact-based, expert-led stories that we can trust,” Tear explains. “The last thing a true history lover wants to do is wade through the reeds of whether the pyramids were built by aliens. For this reason, Chronicle is curated by historians and documentarians to create a trusted source of knowledge and learning.”

The lineup at launch last month featured more than 270 hours of content, including original series, films, shows and what Tear calls “quick-watch, ‘snackable’ content.” Currently, Chronicle adds two new programs to the library each week, but Tear notes that the company has plans to increase this number over the next year.

The synergy between WildBear and Chronicle allows the platform to feature its own original content. At launch, The Bomb: The Terror of World War II and As It Happens became available exclusively for Chronicle consumers. Tear explains that the company has plans to increase production on originals in the year ahead, noting that it is looking to co-produce more titles with international partners.

Acquisitions make up a large portion of the Chronicle catalog right now, and Tear says the streamer is currently working with ZDF, All3Media, Umbrella Entertainment, Ronin Films, WildBear and Flame for more programming. “We are always on the lookout for new high-quality content, including older groundbreaking titles of solid history,” he says. Right now, “military history is a particular focus of ours, but we would love to see more localized history being made. There is a real dearth of Australian history titles out there.”

Highlights from Chronicle’s acquired library include the Academy Award-nominated Berkeley in the Sixties; Lionel, the story of Australian Indigenous boxing legend and world champion Lionel Rose; The Grand Tours of Scotland; Kokoda: The Spirit Lives; and Price of Empire: WWII, with archive and firsthand accounts from the Second World War.

And while Chronicle does have plans to eventually expand its international presence—Tear notes that military history titles work well abroad—it is currently focused on its home markets of Australia and New Zealand.

Ultimately, though, wherever the streamer ends up in the future, “We believe that history connects us all and want to help put history in the spotlight,” Tear says.