Andrew Whiteley, former BBC Producer, God Channel/UCB #medialit

Talking specifically about the use of Christian media.

Funding? Very expensive business…

  • Licence fees?
  • Charitable appeals & broadcasters.
  • Sky – 15 TV channels, 10 radio channels, promoting Christian media – more sophisticated – is big money
  • Caveat – I am not a huge fan of Christian only TV – think we need those skills in mainstream media, although with so many niche channels, I think there’s a place for these channels, but PLEASE don’t suck all the skilled Christians into a Christian-media-bubble-niche – those who watch those kind of TV – already “preaching to the converted”! I have also seen a number of people who watch only e.g. The God Channel and consume it uncritically – TV is produced by humans, and we need to critique as much as with everything else.
  • Advertising is key – have some mainstream audience, can be very targeted – especially with e.g. Spotify : http://www.spotify.com/uk ; webmail providers (browser history). Because of the internet – lots of media is converging – newspapers are only just getting involved with it. Masthead sponsorship have to watch before get to content.
  • Having to identify new funding models…
    • Development of hi-speed broadband = worst nightmare.
    • Are so many options for video – doesn’t take much to get the lighting right/2 cameras not 2 – so look to make a decent video rather than slapping it up! There’s many novelists, but there’s only  one JK Rowling – put the effort in.
    • Games – big pressure on independents
    • God TV was ahead of the game…

Compression on TV through digital (including HD, clear on analogue TV) means, especially if move too fast, difficult to see.

  • Labour intensive & expensive to film
  • Satellite time & transponding – even MORE expensive!
  • How do channels such The God Channel  survive in there?
    • Most Christian TV channels have ‘help fund us’ run across the base of programmes – helps  confirm the idea that most Christians are money-grubbing.
    • Yes, ‘http://www.god.tv/live the first thing that draws your eye is “Donate Now’ on a big red area…
    • Lots of rules regulate what is on TV. Overseas can get away with doing certain things, not covered by the same rules.
    • God TV – “anti” what The God Channel is doing…
      • Common tactic – need money to keep them on air… etc
      • We’re saying that God is a provider so why are we asking for money?
      • It wouldn’t happen if it didn’t work. The problem Andrew sees is the implication that if you GIVE God will bless you…
      • Need to accept that TV costs money (especially TV) and may have to ask for money, but ask honestly. Once can do it on the internet – take out satellite costs & that will help. S
      • Define a Christian Documentary. Tod Bentley & Lakeland business.  Likes http://www.stevehill.org/
      • Good news stories?
      • Positive news stories?
      • Some invest time/money  into producing their own content, etc.
      • What about e.g. Billy Graham always pointed people to local churches.
      • Here, UCB are the good guys – they will refer you to useful sources.

Most start in TV not to make money…

So what is an HONORABLE way to raise money for Christian TV? E.g. Church partnerships?

So SHOULD we even have Christian TV?

One of the impacts of American model – OFCOM has found there are certain things they can’t regulate as people will find other ways round them. So it’s becoming increasingly liberal, otherwise closing doors after horses have bolted! http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bcode/religion/

Some secular funding comes because they think there’s some interesting stories in there…

Is the brand the product or is the packaging?

What are we trying to “sell” and should the label/what’s inside in the tin match? Are we ‘selling’ – what words should we use? How do you see the word ‘sell’ – maybe you’re giving people something they want… at a cost (to someone)?

How can we be enterprising at our level? Seek God first and pray…

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