Tuesday, October 23, 2007
One of the genre we envisaged diverging at speed under digitisation was religion. Today we read about www.GodTube.com a $2.5 million Christian video site with some 1.7 million unique visitors in August. Visitors at the site stay on average 7.7 minutes and view over 1.5 million hours of video a month.
GodTube isn’t a church and is very much a ‘for-profit’ organisation. Its model includes selling both religious and secular advertising, charging subscription fees to ministries that want to broadcast and selling anonymous demographic data. What you get over the Internet also includes matters like in-depth theological discussion, prayer support, opportunities for confession and the like.
Religion on the Internet is nothing new -- churches have been using e-mail and bulletin board services for more than a decade, and sacred texts have long been accessible via online databases. A decade ago we knew of one major Christian publisher who was providing sermons on demand via email.
GodTube offers a new live video function called GodCaster. This allows churches and ministers to stream live events such as services, concerts, debates and other programming, to anyone in the world. Now worshipers can pick a congregation based more on personal or religious preference than their physical location, and they can participate in Bible studies and social groups without ever leaving their PC.
The site takes extra efforts to ensure that its content is appropriate and every single video must be approved by an administrator before it goes live. Currently, that is 300 to 500 videos a day and growing. In addition , only pre-approved pastors and ministries will be trusted live video providers.
The religious market is not exclusive to Christians and similar sites are emerging to cater for other major faiths. Christian publishers are responding to GodTube and its new and expanding audience with leading Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson being one of its 50 Major partners.