Targeting YouTube Masses

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Perhaps the closest thing you'll find to religious programming on popular video-streaming site Hulu is Dana Carvey’s “Church
Chat” spoof from Saturday Night Live earlier this month where,
dressed in drag as the “Church Lady,” he laments the “evil”
spate of TV shows currently ruling the airwaves like MTV’s 16
and Pregnant
and Skins.

While religious networks have strategically been putting lots
of content on their own Web sites, the stream to popular video
sites like Hulu and YouTube has been considerably slower. That
might be changing, too, with content from The Word Network,
INSP, TBN and other programmers appearing on YouTube and,
in some cases, attracting thousands of eyeballs.

Boston-based CatholicTV, which is distributed in 5.7 million
nationwide, has bolstered its viewership not only through IPTV
services like Sky Angel and by streaming its programs live on
its own Web site, but also by posting long-form content on the
world’s most popular video sharing site.

“With the recent relaxation of the restrictions for time on You-
Tube, we’ve begun to put up full-length episodes,” said Father
Robert Reed, who oversees production, acquisition and broadcast
of CatholicTV shows, and hosts a game show and a reality

The network has a branded YouTube page which boasts more
than 840 uploads, including full episodes of talk show This Is
the Day
and specials, such as clips from Father Reed’s tour of
Rome. While the viewership tallies are modest thus far, Reed
sees YouTube as an adjunct to the network’s cable distribution.

“We have not had any pushback at all from any cable or satellite
providers,” Reed said. “It does seem to make sense to
have as much of that content online to draw people back into
the fold, if you will.”

It might only be a matter of time before more faith-based
programmers follow the masses.