WaterBear Network, the interactive VOD service backed by ZDF Enterprises and Off the Fence, has officially entered into the crowded streaming landscape today (Dec. 1) with a collection of content meant to empower its members to take direct action in supporting NGOs.
With more than 80 non-profit organizations now on board, WaterBear Network aims to facilitate awareness, education and action through its catalog of award-winning documentaries, original content and live streaming.
The free service is live in eight countries, including the Netherlands, U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
WaterBear features a collection of original content and curated documentaries inspired by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including the first WaterBear Original: Africa’s Hidden Seaforest (pictured). From the team behind the award-winning My Octopus Teacher, the short film focuses on mental health and nature’s healing powers, and examines carbon sequestration below the ocean.
Also available at launch is Anthropocene, billed as a “cinematic meditation on humanity’s massive reengineering of the planet,” which has been licensed to WaterBear by partners ZDF Enterprises.
The VOD service is also being supported at launch by a number of celebrity brand ambassadors. With a combined reach of 25 million viewers, the representatives will take an active role in creating content and will also be interviewed for WaterBear’s forthcoming original interview series, The Bear Hug.
The Bear Hug is hosted by WaterBear’s head of strategy Sam Sutaria and is slated to debut in 2021.
Brand ambassadors include Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex; actresses Lily Cole (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, Two Weeks to Live); and ornithologist and campaigner for equal rights Mya-Rose Craig, also known as Birdgirl.
The company is also working with assorted storytellers to address such issues as biodiversity, climate action, circularity and community through content. They include filmmaker, activist and influencer Jack Harries; producer, director and writer Tom Mustill; environmental journalist and The One Show‘s Lucy Siegel; and Emmy Award winner Nicolas Brown.
“WaterBear represents the collective vision of millions of people around the world that believe there is hope and that the future is full of opportunities to make the world a better place,” said Victor Eckard, WaterBear’s managing director, in a statement. “At WaterBear we believe in collaboration, local and global partnerships, and using the power of inspirational storytelling, networking and technology to reach and inspire as many people around the world as possible to act (in a small or big way) to make a positive difference to the world we live in.”