Piracy does more damage to the Christian film industry than almost anything else. And one of the biggest ways this happens is by people illegally uploading movies to YouTube and broadcasting them to the world. However, while YouTube may be one of the biggest dangers to the industry, could it also be one of its greatest assets?
YouTube – The Bane of Christian Film
Back in the early days, YouTube had a 10-minute video limit, so pirating movies was not a common threat. But now in the days of feature length high definition uploads, the game has changed. This problem is not exclusive to the Christian movie industry of course, but it hurts us in a few unique ways:
- Christian films are a tight niche genre, the audience for many of these films is small. So if you get pirated films to even a small audience it hurts a lot.
- Christian movies usually do not have much promotional budget so it is hard to get the momentum to overcome piracy.
- YouTube is one of the places that people first discover Christian cinema, and if the first thing they find is a pirated feature then they may never look any further.
YouTube – The Backbone of The Christian Movie Industry
But, before we start picking up stones and picket signs, we need to consider some of the benefits that these video sharing sites have had for Christian movies. The way I see it, every negative point has a strong positive. For instance:
- Christian films are a tight niche genre, the audience for many of these films is small, YouTube lets us share trailers, clips, cast and crew interviews, and information about these movies that most people would have never seen or found out about otherwise!
- Christian movies usually do not have much promotional budget, YouTube creates a new universe by which to get the word out. And not just information but previews that will never run in theaters.
- YouTube is one of the places that people first discover Christian cinema; networks and support are built here. Communities of fans thrive and advocate for films that move them. And these videos are even used in fundraising campaigns to get movies made.
Yes YouTube brings challenges that Christian filmmakers cannot ignore, however this social channel may have been the very thing that has opened the door to the recent surge of Christian movies that are springing up everywhere.
I know beyond any doubt that I have learned more about Christian movies via YouTube than any other source on the planet. For some reason watching a preview accomplishes so much in so little time.
Editor’s Note – It is illegal to upload a movie to YouTube unless you own the rights to that film. We should contact film companies and encourage them to report feature length films that we find uploaded, not watch them. This is not YouTube’s fault, it is malicious behavior on the part of users, and YouTube does work to find and eliminate these uploads.
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