The streaming outlet was launched by XTR. Founded in 2019, XTR is a backer of notable documentary projects such as a multi-part look at NBA legend Magic Johnson set up at Apple TV+ and the Emmy-winning 76 Days, which aired on MTV and streamed on Pluto. The surging appetite for unscripted programming — vividly demonstrated over the past couple of years by The Last Dance, Tiger King and many other titles — is fueling both XTR and Documentary+. Average watch time on Documentary+ is 80 minutes, according to the company.
Nanau and collaborator Bianca Oana, received an Oscar nomination for Collective, a film about a concert-venue fire and related government corruption in their native Romania. The film also received an Oscar nom in the foreign language category, becoming the first Romanian film ever to do so. Toto, which was released in 2014, received a number of citations from film festivals around the world. Nanau received the Cinéma des Étudiants honor at the Cannes Film Festival. Also set in Romania, the film centers on three children orphaned by their mother when she is arrested for drug trafficking.
Documentary+ launched earlier this year as a free, ad-supported service, both on-demand and as a 24-7 linear channel. It recently set distribution with Samsung, the No. 1 smart TV maker in the U.S. and is also on Vizio, Xumo, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
Bryn Mooser founded XTR and Documentary+ and runs them as CEO. He is a former media exec at Verizon and AOL and also co-founded RYOT, a filmmaking outfit that blended documentary with augmented reality and other technology.
“This is a big moment for Documentary+ and the nonfiction industry as a whole, with nearly every household in America having access to the world’s best documentaries for free,” Mooser said when announcing Samsung distribution last month.